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The South Carolina Maritime Museum

In 1996, the Harbor Historical Association launched a dream to create a museum that would celebrate the maritime history of South Carolina and Georgetown, the state’s second largest port. In 2011, with community support, the South Carolina Maritime Museum opened on the waterfront in historic downtown Georgetown.

Home to the prized Fresnel lens of the old North Island lighthouse, our mission is to create enjoyable experiences for both young people and adults by featuring photographs, documents, artifacts, and interactive exhibits related to South Carolina’s rich and remarkable maritime history.

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Summer Sailing Camps for Ages 8 to 14

Registration for the 2018 Youth Sailing Camps at the SC Maritime Museum will begin on March 1, 2018 for museum members and on April 1, 2018 for non members. As always, museum members will receive priority registration and a 10% discount. The one week, half day camps are for children 8-14 years of age who are beginner and intermediate level sailors.

The camps will be held each week during June, July and the first week in August. Morning camps will be held Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 noon. Afternoon camps will be held Monday through Friday from 2 pm until 5 pm. 

Instruction will take place at the SC Maritime Museum, in the park beside the museum, and on the water. Sailboats will put in at the City docks beside the museum. Class size will be limited to 10 campers per session. Campers will learn to sail the Optimist Pram (Opti), a small, extremely stable sailboat designed for teaching young people to sail. 

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“By” a brick, preserve your place in history

A Commemorative “Wall of Bricks” will be a focal point in the renovations of the SC Maritime Museum.

This is a rare opportunity to “truly” be part of the SC Maritime Museum. Unique historical bricks recovered from THE BROWN’S FERRY VESSEL will comprise this select section of the wall and will display a commemorative notation of donor’s choice on their purchased brick.

Purchase online here or call Amy Rowe at the SCMM, 843-520-0111.

Bricks: $200 each, tax deductible donation to the Raise the Sails Appeal.

Purchase Here

New Exhibit: The History of the Port of Georgetown

This fascinating and informative photographic exhibit is displayed chronologically to show the history of Georgetown’s port starting soon after the Civil War, progressing through the lumber boom years of 1880-1920, and after the SC Ports Authority was formed in 1942, with the multitude of cargo ships that visited Georgetown from 1950 through the 1990’s.

With the advent of container shipping, Charleston prospered and Georgetown suffered. By the end of 2016, no ships brought cargo in or took cargo out of the Port of Georgetown. The future of Georgetown’s port is unclear but it offers a uniquely beautiful waterfront for further development.

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Coming soon: Henrietta model

A beautiful model of the HENRIETTA has been crafted by local model builders and designers, Bill Brady and Ed Scott.

The Henrietta was the largest wooden ship ever built in South Carolina. Built in Bucksville in 1874,  she was 201 feet long and the top of her mainmast was 147 feet above the deck.

The model is 1/64th the size of the original and it has taken just as long to build. It will be installed at the end the summer after the renovation and enlargement of the SCMM has been completed.

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2017 Membership Drive

Since opening in December 2011, the museum’s membership has grown to include 150 individual, family, and business members. In 2016, through the support of members like you we were able to secure a USDA loan to purchase our entire building, adjacent parking lot and connecting boat slips, set a new record of 20,000 visitors to the museum, train 127 children in our Youth Sailing Program (> 500 overall), and pull off the biggest and best Wooden Boat Show ever in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

In 2017, we plan to renovate the first and second floors of our building so that we can expand our exhibits and partner with local nonprofits to create rotating educational exhibits, expand both adult and youth programs, and create a functional and attractive space for community and museum events. Help us grow!

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Meet Our Director

Robert (Mac) McAlister became the director of the SC Maritime Museum in September 2015. Mac is an engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, served as an officer in the Civil Engineers Corps of the U.S. Navy, worked as a construction engineer and manager in several locations, and was a partner in the development of Belle Isle in Georgetown. He is married to Mary Shower McAlister and they have three sons. He and his family are sailors and have twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean in their sailboat. Mac has served on the Board of Directors of the Harbor Historical Association since the SC Maritime Museum opened in 2011. He has written four books of local maritime history, including Wooden Ships on Winyah Bay, The Life and Times of Georgetown Sea Captain Abram Jones Slocum, 1861-1914, The Lumber Boom of Coastal South Carolina, and North Island, A History.