2014 Holiday Newsletter

After an active summer season, and a return of visitors to the Jersey shore, we welcome the upcoming holiday season with expectations of an even better year ahead. Repairs necessitated by the wrath of Superstorm Sandy more than two years ago have been completed and we can now concentrate on expanding our rotating exhibits, digitization of our voluminous (and growing) shipwreck archives, and a host of other projects.

Sherri Paris’ New Logic Marine Science Camp was a huge success this summer, and children of all ages participated in this award-winning educational program; next year’s schedule of camps is as follows: K-8 Children: July 13-17; July 27-31; Aug. 2-7; Aug. 10-14 Teen Camp: July 20-24. The New Logic Marine Science Camp has won “Best Camp” 3 years in a row. Their marine science program at the NJMM is a “hands on, feet wet” marine and environmental education- based learning experience. Camp activities include: marine ecology education, water quality sampling and testing, seining, sieving, plant and animal identification, kayaking and environmental awareness. Additional information and registration applications can be found at www.marinesciencecamp.com

Our 6th annual fundraiser was held on Sept. 13th, and – as was bound to happen sooner or later – we got a day of non-stop wind and rain. Since we had a pretty good idea what was coming weather-wise, we spent two days pleading with Ocean Tents for additional gutters and side curtains. They came through for us, and we added as many pop-up tents as we could. Elaine Stevens and the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club purchased a vinyl carport and graciously loaned it to us for the event. We even had a few RV’s along the Dock Road perimeter, thanks to trustee Leslie Houston’s quick thinking and the willingness of the Tromm’s to add their own to her ingenious – and highly efficient – vehicular wind block! Having done as much as we could to maximize our tented area, we were still concerned that the inclement weather would keep people from attending. As it turned out, our fears were unfounded and we had a marvelous attendance of almost 400 people. It was an eye opener for us, and we’ve already made plans to improve things for next year’s event. Ocean Tents will be bringing in their largest tents to cover the entire lot, including the driveway. This should insure a much drier venue and allow for additional seating as this event continues to grow.

We would like to give thanks to the many volunteers who worked so tirelessly to make this year’s event such a success; for fear of omitting anyone, I won’t name individuals; you all know who you are and I sincerely hope you know how much your efforts were appreciated. Special thanks to the American Red Cross for attending and handing out their very useful information – in spite of the conditions under which they were forced to work! Kudos to Okie’s Butcher Shop, The Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club, Buckalew’s Restaurant and Bar, The Boathouse Restaurant, Barry’s Do Me A Flavor, Crust and Crumb Bakery, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Country Kettle Fudge for their donation and preparation of a wide assortment of delectable foods. Gallo Wines and Reunite Wines are heartily thanked for their generous donations, as well. Buy Rite Liquor Store and Rommel’s continue to support us in donations as well as in discounted products. We ask that you show your appreciation by patronizing – year round – those businesses whose contributions make this such a successful event.

In addition to the wonderful food and beverages provided by our local business community, we are grateful for the non-stop entertainment provided by DJ Troy Sarro and Roger and Al Jinks; in spite of the soggy weather, they kept everyone dancing!

What more can we say about our business community and the individuals that donate to our auctions? They are wonderful! This event is known to have perhaps the best Chinese and Silent Auctions to be found on planet Earth, but this year was different. We always try to put 50 items in our Chinese Auction and around ten prizes in our Silent Auction. This year the donations were so far over the top that it was impossible to do anything but increase the number of prizes. A very heartfelt thanks goes out to all who donated.

Last but not least, we would like to offer a HUGE thank you to all of the hearty souls who braved the weather to attend this year’s fundraiser. I guess this is what is meant by “Jersey Strong”!

Next year’s fundraiser will be held on September 12th, and will be themed “A Celebration of Beach Haven’s 125thAnniversary”. With your participation, it will be the biggest and best yet!

Save the date!


A Celebration of Beach Haven’s 125th Anniversary

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

5 pm to 11 pm

Indoor-Outdoor Tented Affair – Casual Attire

Fabulous Pig Roast & Salads from Okie’s Butcher Shop

Seafood – Pasta – Vegetarian Dishes – Desserts

Delectable Foods Donated by Local Food Establishments

Full Service Cash Bar

Chinese Auction – 50/50 Raffle – Silent Auction

Live Entertainment by Al & Roger Jinks along with DJ Troy Sarro!

Classic 60s, country & blues music!

Prizes awarded for best-dressed “theme” male, female & couple!

All Tickets $55 – Members $50

Tickets available in advance and at the door!

Call 609-492-0202 for information

Fisherman’s Story Memorial

We are very pleased to announce that we now have the second monument of the Fisherman’s Story Memorial here at the Museum. After a bit of wrangling, we managed to get it installed in time for the Sept. 13th Fundraiser. We had the dedication during the fundraiser and members of the Mears and Svelling families there to help us. It was a special event, and we are very proud to be the repository of this tribute to those lost at sea while pursuing the life of a commercial fisherman. The monument sits in front of the museum’s entrance and depicts a pound fishing scene with six men working the nets. The six men represent three generations each of the Mears and Svelling families, and the monument shows that commercial fishing is a lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation. When you visit the museum, please take a moment or two to view this wonderful, and moving memorial.

Shipwreck Database

Dave and Eileen finished (as if it will ever be finished) phase one of our ship wreck database. We are now in the process of working on phase two, which (hopefully) will take less than the three years that phase one took. Phase two will consist of scanning all of the written notes, documented accounts and photographs in our archives, and adding them to phase one which is already on line. Thanks to the wonderful group of college interns that we had this past summer, the project is well under way. We now have Rita and Susanne continuing what they started and anticipate a completion of this enormous task by late 2015.


In mentioning our college interns, we’d like to thank Beach Haven Councilwoman, Dr. Nancy Davis for providing us with an astonishing number of college interns this past summer. We had so many contact us that we passed some of them along to other local non-profit groups. Not only were they plentiful, but we were blessed with a group that was outstandingly bright and diligent. Katherine, Kelsey, Sarah, and Stephanie worked like demons and managed to organize our lending and rare book libraries and our video collection. They also categorized most of our thousands of scanned images on the computer. On top of that they also provided a very good start to scanning our shipwreck database. I hate to wish anything bad on them, but would not mind if they could see fit to fail a few courses so that we might have them back for a couple of more years. Sabrina was back to run our Friday Childrens’ program, and I don’t know how I could possibly get along without her. She, along with her assistants, Nick, Dani, Alyssa, Leigh, and Rachel have it down to a science. Imagine up to 50 of the little ones in attendance (just thinking of it makes me cringe) but they are ever so patient with the children. And then there’s Sammy, who has ended up being like my very own personal assistant. She does it all, whether it be scanning, cataloging, delivering fliers for our fundraiser, etc. She’s also a wizard with power tools and helped me build the magic lantern slide display case.

Add to this mix our regular volunteers and docents: Eileen, Gini, Judy, Rita, Susanne, Dave, John, and Michael, and you get an idea how incredibly lucky we are to have such a fine and devoted volunteer staff.

Robert J. Walker

We’ve fallen behind schedule on our Robert J. Walker exhibit, but that really should not come as a big surprise when dealing with a government agency. However, we do have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that money for the display has been approved. The bad news is that not as much money as we had hoped for was approved. That being said, the exhibit is moving forward. I’ve met with the planners and the exhibit will comprise the center and one wall of what is now the Andrea Doria room. The plans have been finalized and we are assured that it will be completed by the end of April. We’re all very excited about this display and can’t wait to share it with our visitors!

Unidentified Brick Shipwreck

Along the New Jersey coast, old shipwrecks are usually discovered by a fisherman whose nets catch a snag on the ocean bottom. The most recent “new” shipwreck, however, was unearthed by a construction crew in Brick. The wreck was discovered 100 yards inland from the shore line and 25 feet down in the sand while building a 3.5 mile retaining wall. Needless to say, the big question is . . . what ship is it? The NJ Maritime Museum was contacted by media reporters seeking our thoughts on which ship it might be. With no more specific information than the location, the ship could be any of 90 ships that were stranded in the area known as Squan Beach in the mid 19th century.

The museum’s research volunteers, headed by trustee Dave Swope and his wife Eileen, are in contact with the Historic Preservation Office of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection which is leading the project to identify the ship. A professional archeologist and a historian have been hired to perform the investigation. Both have contacted the museum staff and intend to use the museum resources in their investigation. While they are still digging up wreckage, we are looking at our shipwreck files to identify each of those 90 ships and narrow the possible candidates to a few. Both projects are in progress while this newsletter is being distributed. More will follow when the identification is complete. Keep watching the museum’s website and our Facebook page for updates.

Professional archeologists have come to the museum for assistance in the past. Our resources were used by the archeologist looking for possible wreckage in the path of dredging and reconstruction projects in Absecon and Barnegat Light Inlets. We are pleased that the museum has a growing reputation as a research facility for both the armchair and professional maritime historian.

The Asbury Park Press, in its Reader’s Choice Awards, named the NJMM as the “Best of the Best” in Ocean County under the category of “Indoor Amusements”; in the most recent edition of NJ Monthly Magazine, NJMM was chosen 2nd runner up as New Jersey’s favorite museums, right behind the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the winner, Montclair Art Museum. We are honored to have been named and thank all who nominated us for such prestigious awards!

Congratulations to Gretchen & Deb for having their book, Inferno at Sea, which is now in it’s second printing, selected to be a part of the 2015 Havana International Book Fair in February of 2015. As this newsletter goes to print they are planning their return to Cuba for this event. They are also currently working to complete a photographic book on Tucker’s Island, scheduled for release by Arcadia Publishing in May of 2015. The proceeds of the sales of both books help fund the museum’s operating expenses.

As we enter the winter of our eighth season, the work continues. Our monthly presentations have gotten so popular that we can’t even post them anymore; the next one is fully booked by the end of the night of the current program. We are tackling our “to do” cart, but all we ever manage is to put as much of a dent into the accumulated articles as is humanly possible. The next thing you know, it will be spring and we’ll be rearranging and rotating out displays so that we can show a new look for next season.

In closing, I’d just like to let you all know that membership renewal post cards will be going out, and that your membership is very important in order for us to continue to our work. We sincerely appreciate your support and fellowship throughout the year and look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Wishing you all a very joyous holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!


Jim Vogel

Executive Director

NJ Maritime Museum

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