History of the Texas Maritime Museum
The history of the Texas Maritime Museum can be traced back to the late 1970’s at the Rockport annual Seafair Festival. Maritime enthusiasts would bring out their personal collections of motors, fishing equipment and mounted fish for the public’s view. The establishment of the Museum was a community wide project headed by a few dedicated members. The Texas Maritime Museum opened its doors on July 1, 1989.
In 1987 the Texas Legislature named the Texas Maritime Museum the official Maritime Museum of the State of Texas, re-stated in perpetuity in 2007. However, the Museum does not receive any state or federal funding. It is a designated 501(c)3 non-profit, and relies on the generosity of our patrons and members as well as annual fundraisers.
August 5, 2005 marks the Museum’s accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, a significant accomplishment in our history. The Texas Maritime Museum met the highest standard of excellence and achievement through leadership, professional operation, continued commitment to institutional improvement, and public service and accountability through fulfillment of our mission. Less than 5 percent of all museums in Texas have received accreditation.
The completion of the Robert J. Hewitt/ O’Connor Hewitt Foundation Maritime Collections and Education Center was the next phase in the museum’s ongoing commitment to excellence! The exterior was finished in May 2009, and the interior was completed in April 2012. The new facility added a 1,200 square foot education space, and expanded the museum’s collections space exponentially.
The Mission of the Texas Maritime Museum is to educate and excite the public about maritime history and its importance to the development and current livelihood of our great state.