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Historical Preservation Grants: Our Maritime Heritage

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Who benefits from historical preservation grants?  Museums and historical societies come to mind. But tourism, economic development, cultural affairs, even parks and recreation departments can find advantages with this type of funding as well. Or course, history is important for its own sake. Which is why the Department of Interior is offering National Maritime Heritage Grants to make sure our county's distinguished maritime past remains alive and vibrant.

The National Maritime Heritage Grants Program

This program funds both education and preservation activities that emphasize: historic maritime properties, maritime heritage collections, traditional maritime skills, and maritime history topics. Projects must have a public education component that reach a wide audience.


Projects for the education portion should address curation, instruction, and interpretation of the maritime resources in the following categories:

  • Maritime heritage collections
  • Maritime heritage area programs
  • Maritime field programs
  • Preservation of maritime skills
  • Maritime resource replicas
  • Facilities improvements


Projects for the preservation portion should address all facets of preservation planning and treatment including:

  • Preservation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Restoration
  • Reconstruction

Selected Past Recipients

Although many grantees are historical societies, maritime museums, and nautical associations, we emphasized recipients beyond those categories to demonstrate that while preserving our seafaring heritage, other community interests can simultaneously benefit through the program as well.

  • Philips Wharf Environmental Center - While helping to preserve the Chesapeake Bay, The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center will use their grant to expose diverse audiences to the experience of a "working waterfront."
  • Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities - The Center will repaint the Cape May Lighthouse in an authentic color scheme.
  • Greater Lockport Development Association - This project involves the restoration of the Erie Canal's Flight of Five, locks originally built in the 1800s that featured a unique adaption to the environment. Making them operational again will boost the city's reputation as a tourist destination.
  • Papahana Hoolauna Public Outreach Project The traditional ocean navigation techniques of Hawai'i will be explored in this educational program.
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry - will feature an interpretive exhibit featuring the USS Blueback (SS-581), one of the last diesel-electric propelled Naval submarines.
  • Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation - The Vintage Indian River Life-Saving Station will be revived, complete with replicas of original accessories.
  • Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde - will develop interpretive displays that feature canoe making and the significance of these vessels among the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast.
  • Diving With a Purpose - Diving students, especially minority diving students, will be trained in maritime archaeology so they can add to the body of archaeological knowledge as they SCUBA dive for recreation.
  • University of South Carolina Foundation - Remember reading The Island of Blue Dolphins in grade school? Karana was a fictionalized character based on the true story of the Lone Women of San Nicolas Island . USC and the Channel Islands National Park have created a website that expands on the novel's historical context, and includes a standards-based curriculum to accompany it.
  • Santa Barbara Maritime Museum - Yes, it is a maritime museum but we are including it anyway! Fourth grade California history students get to spend the night on a tall ship as the crew reenacts Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast. (Oh, to be in the fourth grade again!)

Applying for National Maritime Heritage Grants

Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, state and local governments, academic institutions, and nonprofits. Apply by August 4, 2017. Those new to grants.gov can review a visual presentation to help them navigate the process.


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