Sea History 179 - Summer 2022

Page 12




courtesy burchenal green

courtesy american cruise lines

Supporting NMHS — Thank you, Jim Pollin!

his past March, the National Maritime Historical Society was the recipient of an incredible gift from NMHS Afterguard Jim Pollin, a philanthropist who shares our passion for maritime history. We were fortunate when he discovered us a few years back, and last year, he offered to support the Society by providing thirty cabins onboard the American Cruise Lines paddlewheeler American Heritage for a cruise up the Mississippi River, donating 100% of the proceeds from each cabin booked by our members. After an informative, fun-filled week together, Jim rounded up the dollar figure covered by our members’ cruise fares and made his full donation in the amount of $150,000, a most generous and welcome contribution. The cruise served as both an incredible fundraiser and a chance to get to know our members and trustees better, while enjoying the sights American Heritage on the Mississippi River and learning about the rich maritime heritage of the lower Mississippi. It was an experience that took us from New Orleans to Memphis, with port stops and tours along the way. What a gift! And how special to travel on American Cruise Lines, whose founder and our honorary trustee Charles Robertson was honored with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award back in 2016. I enjoyed the intimacy of the smaller river cruise ship. It is wonderful to travel up the Mississippi, listening to the water churning and observing the impressive ship traffic on the “Big Muddy,” one of the most important commercial waterways in the country, if not the world. Our members loved the local history and entertainment presented onboard as well as the many tours, each with a different favorite—from swamp tours to the historic homes and plantations of Louisiana, to the sobering visits to the Civil War gunboat USS Cairo and the battlefield at Vicksburg, from the historic river port at Natchez, Mississippi, to the rollicking home of rock & roll, blues, and jazz in Memphis. After reading and writing about the ship and its history for so long, we were particularly pleased to be able to finally visit the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Kidd in Baton Rouge. We are grateful (and impressed!) with Jim’s creative take on how to support NMHS, and we hope his example will inspire others to design unique platforms of philanthropy to support our maritime heritage. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President NMHS members, trustees, and staff are the most interesting, and we enjoyed the chance to spend a full week with them aboard American Heritage! Many thanks to Jim Pollin (seated, far right) for the opportunity.



Open daily on the Mississippi River in Downtown Baton Rouge

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