Great plans sometimes meet roadblocks, and like many museums, ours was the Covid 19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020. We learned new technologies and kept our virtual doors open for business! In addition to presenting several on-line lectures, our staff contributed to blogs, book reviews and other services to the field. We also maintained our social media outreach and contacts with the wider maritime and scholarly communities.
In addition we were fortunate to expand our volunteer force and at present have five ongoing projects as part of our Second Decade Initiative. These include cataloguing and digitizing our Library and Photo archival collections. Due to the vast collections we have amassed during our first decade, the projected timeline for this work is two-three years.
In 2019, the Museum's founder participated in the first international Maritime Animals conference, held in Greenwich UK at the National Maritime Museum. Patricia Sulivan discussed the museum's mission and presented an overview of the types and functions of maritime pets throughout the ages.
Sullivan shared her east and west-bound ocean crossings with a Black Lab service dog who has accompanied her owner on several voyages. Many ocean liners roll out the red carpet for such dogs, and we salute them all!
During her time in the UK, Sullivan visited colleagues at various maritime museums and ports of call. Buster, the history dog from Plymouth University, and Hatch from the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth were just two of many furry and human friends she met up with.
The museum's dory, "Noah's Barque" found a new home in 2019. She performed very well on the water, but the boat was too unstable to use for pet demonstrations and educational events. We are on the hunt for a boat with a flatter bottom and more deck room, in order to provide stability and greater safety during in-water demonstrations.
Our Museum hosts an annual in-water beach demo day. If you are interested in participating, your dog must be a known working water breed, and must demonstrate a skill or set of skills. You can bring your own dinghy. The event is held at a private marina in Pasadena MD.
In past years, particpating breeds have included Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Short-haired Pointer, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dogs and Yellow Lab. If you would like to participate this Fall, contact us!
2020 seemed to spark a renewed interest in Podcasting, as museums and other organizations sought ways to keep their profiles and messages front and center in the public eye. We were honored to be selected for an interview with The Mariner's Mirror Pocast, an adjunct of the Society for Nautical Research, which also publishes a quarterly journal and promotes world-wide scholarship in maritime history and conservation.
In recent years, we have been interviewed on one foreign and several national radio programs, and have been featured in comprehensive articles in Atlas Obscura, as well as Boating Times, Smithsonian Online Magazine, and the Washington Post. We contribute to several blogs on an invitation basis, and maintain an active exchange of information and images via social media.
In 2017, we circulated an exhibit on loan to us from CFB Esquimalt Museum (Canadian Navy) in Victoria BC. "Creature Comforts" featured mascots from the late 19th through mid 20th centuries. Our own maritime pets exhibit "All Paws on Deck" continues to travel on demand. It features several famous mascots, topical news and images, and a tribute to the pets who were aboard the Titanic on her fateful voyage in 1912.
Potuguese Water Dog
Egyptian Tomb Painting showing cat hunting birds
Sullivan & Buster at Portsmouth Harbor
In honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act's 25th anniversary in 2015, we visited and had an extensive interview with a live-aboard Service Dog and his owner. Service dogs and cats sail around the world to help their humans live fun and fulfilling lives. Many have blogs and websites.
Our annual charity golf tournament held its fifth tournament last year, with an added Virtual Tournament option for people not living near Annapolis.
Local artist Heidi Brotheron recently dedicated a painting to us. Maritime pets from many parts of the world are featured, and this image has been reproduced as notecards. Visit our store for more details.
Several summers ago, we interviewed Rosie, a black labrador who was the mascot of Coast Guard Station Annapolis. Rosie kept things moving smoothly at the Station, and also provided hospitality services! She has now retired with her long-time handler.
Ray L and Scott R
Heidi Brotherton's "Little Helper"
C.G. Station Annapolis mascot Rosie and Handler BM1 Abels
Hatch of the Mary Rose Museum
The Museum's archives include a groundbreaking interview on NPR's Animal House program, aired in 2010 by WAMU, a Washington D.C. station. We have also appeared consistently in the Annapolis newspaper Capital Gazette, featuring our activities or exhibits throughout the years.
In 2015 we partnered with Anne Arundel Volunteer Center to advance our mission with the help of talented community members. These have included members of the Armed Services, retired professionals from various fields, and college students seeking internship projects. Their assignments further our mission and provide learning opportunities for the students and volunteers involved.