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Memphis Tennessee and the Mississippi River Museum

Memphis is a city with a rich and eclectic history: Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll, BBQ Pork Capital of the World. Some of the city’s traditions and milestones include: Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley; the Memphis Zoo; the Indie Memphis Film Festival; Sun Studio; National Civil Rights Museum; the Memphis NBA Grizzlies; Stax Museum of American Soul Music; Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, Payne’s BBQ and Interstate BBQ; Beale Street; Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival.

History the city’s history began with the Native Americans who settled on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff, then onto Hernando De Soto, the Civil War, yellow fever, the blues and rock ‘n’ roll music.
Cotton Row beginning around 1840 riverboats loaded with cotton lined the Memphis riverfront. Through the Civil War and by the turn of the century, Memphis was center stage and cotton was king. By some estimates, over 75% of the nation’s cotton came through the Bluff City. Front Street in Downtown Memphis was nicknamed “Cotton Row” and was the heart of the cotton trade and the center of the Memphis economy for over a century.

Memphis Accolades Infographic-RGBRelive the Days of Cotton Traders and How Cotton changed the History of a Nation

Culture Broadway shows at the historic Orpheum Theatre, and the city’s own professional resident theater. Memphis is also home to a nationally acclaimed professional ballet company, opera and symphony orchestra.

A display of Fine Art, history-making Music and a Celebration of American Heritage and Culture

beale street in the daytimeBeale Street when the blues migrated north from the Delta it found a permanent home in Memphis, and that home is alive and well today on Beale Street. Dance to the many bands and artists that perform in open-air Handy Park or spend a night sliding in and out of any number of nightclubs. Hit the district in May when the city jams with the annual Memphis in May Festival.

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Mud Island River Park by day, take the monorail, which boasts some of the city’s best views, over to the Mississippi River Museum, where you can check out genuine Civil War garb and gunboat reproductions. By night, catch a live performance at the Amphitheater with the Memphis skyline as your backdrop and the rolling river at your back.

hernando de soto bridgeThe Mississippi River Museum is comprised of 18 galleries that showcase 10,000 years of history in the Lower Mississippi River Valley.  The exhibits detail early inhabitants in the valley to modern day transportation and contain over 5,000 artifacts; including two full size boat replicas which you can board and explore.

Transportation four of the museum’s galleries trace the evolution of transportation on the river from the earliest canoes through the golden age of steamboats and finally to modern diesel towboats. The search for more efficient transportation and the economic impact of river transportation played a vital role in the development of trade routes and the growth of river cities. Examples of the museum’s collection in these galleries are: Boat Building Tools, Boat models including full scale Packet Boat, Cargo, Victorian Furniture, Pilothouse equipment, Towboat Pilot House,

MRM 1Engineering this exhibit details the engineering aspects of the river and the organizations created to maintain them. Example of the museum’s collection in this gallery are: Levee building tools, Sections of concrete and willow mattresses used to stabilize the river banks original bridge plans.

memphis queenThe Memphis Riverboat sightseeing cruises dock at beautiful Beale Street Landing and take you on a 10-mile round-trip voyage aboard the Memphis Queen III.

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Little Rock and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

Little Rock is a cultural, economic, government, and transportation center within Arkansas and the South located on the south bank of the Arkansas River in Central Arkansas. Fourche Creek and Rock Creek run through the city, and flow into the river.  

Pulaski County CourthouseThe name derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called the “Little Rock” (French: La Petite Roche). The Little Rock was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing.

The Metro Streetcar System, formerly the River Rail Electric Streetcar, is a 3.4-mile (5.5 km) heritage streetcar system that runs from the North Little Rock City Hall and throughout downtown Little Rock before crossing over to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The streetcar line has fourteen stops and a fleet of five cars with a daily ridership of around 350.

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The Port of Little Rock is an Intermodal River Port with a large Industrial Business Complex

hoga tugboatThe Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is located on North Shore Riverwalk Park along the shore of the Arkansas River in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It is home to two floating Naval vessels that bookend World War II: the tugboat Hoga, designated a National Historic Landmark and recognized for her efforts during the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941; and the submarine Razorback, which was in Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japan, ending World War II. The museum features exhibits on the following Naval vessels: the submarine Razorback, the tugboat Hoga, the battleship Arkansas, and the guided missile cruiser Arkansas.

A Collection from the Arkansas River Historical Society features the History of the Arkansas River

AIMM_cubscoutpack408_2017Arkansas Vessels there have been five naval vessels, four named in the United States Navy and one in the Confederate States Navy. The first of the vessels was CSS Arkansas, an ironclad ship used by the Confederates. This Arkansas had the shortest life, serving less than a month before it was scuttled in Louisiana. The USS Arkansas was built in Pennsylvania and bought by the Union during the Civil War in 1863, two months before the Union occupation of Arkansas. The Monitor USS Monitor was one of the last monitors built for the United States Navy. Launched in 1900 and commissioned in 1902, it served many different roles while in the navy. The fourth vessel, and the longest serving vessel, was the dreadnought battleship USS Arkansas and second member of the Wyoming class in the United States Navy. It was commissioned in 1912 and served in both World Wars. The last of the USS Arkansas was a Virginia-class nuclear-propelled guided-missile cruiser. Its primary mission was defending aircraft carrier task forces from both the air and from below. The cruiser was decommissioned in 1998.

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Biloxi Mississippi the Maritime and Seafood Industries Museum

The Biloxi Waterfront lies directly on the Mississippi Sound, with barrier islands off the Coast and into the Gulf of Mexico. Old Biloxi was part of the First Permanent Settlement in 1699 by French Colonists in French Louisiana. The name of Biloxi in French was Bilocci, a transliteration of the term for the local Native American tribe in their language. In 1720, the administrative capital of French Louisiana was moved to Biloxi from Mobile. Due to fears of tides and hurricanes, the capital of French Louisiana was later moved to New Orleans, nearly 125 miles up the Mississippi River from the Gulf Coast.

Biloxi Light House and Visitors CenterBritish rule ensued from 1763 to 1779, followed by Spanish rule from 1779 to 1810. Despite this, the character of Biloxi remained mostly French. Mississippi, and Biloxi with it, was admitted as a state to the union in 1817. During the 19th century, Biloxi became known as a summer resort, with Summer homes built by well-to-do farmers and merchants.

The Biloxi Lighthouse is the best-known local landmark. It was built in Baltimore and completed at the site in May 1848; it is one of the two, out of twelve, surviving lighthouses along the Mississippi Coast.

Howard Street Biloxi Mississippi 1906The First Cannery was built in 1881 to process seafood, an economic development that attracted new immigrants from Europe to work in the seafood factories processing shrimp and other local fish harvested by shrimp boats and oyster luggers.

Casinos date back to the 1940s with open, but technically illegal, gambling which ended in 1950. With the introduction of legal gambling in Mississippi in the 1990s, Biloxi became an important center in the resort casino industry.

Biloxi Casinos21st century Biloxi’s Economy is based on the Seafood Industry Tourism and Gaming

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Maritime and Seafood Industries MuseumThe Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum was established in 1986 to preserve and interpret the maritime history and heritage of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It offers exhibits on shrimping, oystering, recreational fishing, wetlands, managing marine resources, charter boats, marine blacksmithing, wooden boat building, netmaking, catboats/Biloxi skiff and shrimp peeling machines.

The Wade Guice Hurricane Museum features 1400 square feet of exhibit space and a state of the art theatre. The Art gallery will feature regional and national maritime artists with exhibitions rotating throughout the year.

SchoonerThe Museum has brought life to local maritime traditions by replicating two 65′ two-masted Biloxi Schooners that sail on the Mississippi Sound and waters of the north central Gulf of Mexico almost daily. The Museum also conducts yea- round educational programs and a summer Sea-n-Sail Adventure Camp which teaches youth about local maritime heritage.

The Biloxi Cast Net has been used Locally to Catch Seafood for nearly Three Centuries

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Madisonville Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum

Madisonville is located at on the banks of the Tchefunke River near where the river enters Lake Pontchartrain. Founded by in 1800, as the town of Coquille or Cokie because of the abundance of shells in the area, at the site of the Native American village of Chiconcte. The town was later renamed after President Madison.

Madisonville Monument Sign TchefuncteFrederick (Fritz) Jahncke emigrated from Germany in 1870. After working as a mason, he started a business that built the first sidewalks in New Orleans. Using a rented steam-driven hydraulic suction dredge, his firm was the first to extract sand and shell from the Tchefuncte and other rivers to make concrete used in expanding New Orleans.

Shipbuilding the company started building five wooden ships for the US Navy. Two ships were completed – the SS Bayou Teche and the SS Balabac – before the end of WWI.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway links Madisonville with New Orleans

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Lake Ponchartrain Basin Maritime MuseumLake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum is located on the banks of the scenic Tchefuncte River in Madisonville. The museum brings Louisiana’s maritime history to life through unique interpretive programs, exhibits, and publications. These programs include the time-honored craft of boat building, hands-on field trips, constructing underwater robots, restoration of the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, and other exciting educational opportunities for people of all ages.

A Historic Journey through Maritime Louisiana

Wooden Boat FestivalThe Wooden Boat Festival, the premier annual event on the Tchefuncte River, features over 100 wooden and classic boats. From canoes to pirogues, from bateaux to steamboats, Louisiana’s unique maritime history and culture has it all. Native Americans, European explorers, and early settlers depended upon Louisiana’s extensive bayous, rivers, and lakes as the pathways of survival, linking the interior with the sea.

The Museum features unique exhibits that illustrate the innovation, creativity, and perseverance of Louisiana’s people, concentrating on the maritime history of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, the lower Mississippi River Valley, and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Lifelike examples of native Louisiana plants and animals can be seen in the museum’s exhibits. Other exhibits:

LPBMM field-tripSecret Weapon! Civil War Submarine, the Pioneer

Canals of New Orleans

Lighthouses of Louisiana

Wood and Water, a Celebration of Louisiana Boatbuilding

The Steamboat Era

Waterways to Railways II

Tchefuncte River LighthouseThe Tchefuncte River Light Station is a symbol of the dynamic maritime history and culture of Louisiana. The original tower was badly damaged during the Civil War and was rebuilt in 1867-1868 on the same foundation using many of the same bricks. The Light Station, its keepers, and their families weathered many hurricanes until 1939 when it was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 the property was transferred to the Town of Madisonville and continues to serve the community as a private aid to navigation and as an icon of Southeast Louisiana.

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Houston Texas and the Maritime Museum

Architecture Home Grown Breweries Wine Trails Boating and Maritime Traditions

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the US South as well as America’s fourth-largest. A cosmopolitan destination and home to an energetic arts community, it was founded in 1836 near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and commander at the Battle of San Jacinto, 25 miles – 40 km – east of where the city was established.

Downtown Houston skyline
Downtown Houston skyline

The Port and Railroad, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-20th century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Architecture the Bayou City is full of interesting buildings that reveal its past; throughout Downtown and the city’s central core, there is an abundance of significant architecture that tells the story of this port and railroad town turned metropolis.

The Downtown Aquarium is an underwater-themed complex features dining among several giant aquariums, shark tunnel tours, a white tiger exhibit, generous banquet facilities, a 100-foot Ferris wheel, plus fun and games. 

downtown aquarium fountainsHome Grown Breweries Texas’ oldest craft brewer, Saint Arnold, makes 10 different craft brews and shows off its operation to thousands of visitors annually. Explore the new biergarten-inspired space, sample brew in the tasting room and get a peek at the tank farm. Production began at Conroe’s Southern Starin 2008 and has been ramping up ever since. Karbach Brewing’s Sympathy for the Lager, Rodeo Clown Double IPA and Weisse Versa Wheat promise to become household names in Texas’ growing craft beer movement and family-owned No Label craft brewery produces a line of ales and lagers with names like El Jefe, a German Hefeweizen, and Pale Horse, an American pale ale.   

The Bluebonnet Wine Trail offers spectacular views and award-winning wines not far from Houston. Cork This! Winery is a boutique spot specializing in custom made wines and offers half-dozen selections; experience bottling your own wine with a personally designed custom label. Bernhardt Winery produces approximately 6,000 gallons of wine each year with a Tuscan-style tasting room, which sits atop a beautiful hill overlooking endless hills and valleys. Peach Creek offers five acres of vineyards, along with a tasting room and large event pavilion. Messina Hof Winery is a 100-acre estate, of which 42 host the vineyard in Bryan, Texas. Windy Winery produces Texas Wine from Texas Grapes©, bottling 100 percent of their products on site. Saddlehorn Winery is set on a 390-acre ranch in Burton, Texas overlooking the rolling hills of Washington County, birthplace of Texas.

Kemah Boardway WaterfrontBoating and Cruising the Bayport Cruise Terminal is located on the Western shore of Galveston Bay, 30 minutes from downtown Houston. The state-of-the-art facility is near the Kemah Boardwalk with a 36-foot carousel, a 65-foot Ferris wheel and rides like Aviator, Boardwalk Tower and the Boardwalk Beast, a boat ride that takes you four miles into Galveston Bay at speeds up to 40 mph.

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Maritime Heritage and Commerce through Education Programs and Interactive Exhibits

new hmmThe Houston Maritime Museum started out as a small private museum for founder Jim Manzolillo’s extensive collection of maritime artifacts and ship models, now grown to over eight galleries that cover the world of maritime history and culture from early navigation and exploration, to World War II, the merchant marine and the energy industry. Noteworthy is the exhibit on the history of Buffalo Bayou, the origins of the Houston Ship Channel and the port’s impact on the economy of Houston, and the nation.

HMM hosts a yearlong lecture series that brings in speakers on local, regional, national, and international subjects of the maritime world.

ship model societyThe Gulf Coast Ship Model Society is a group of amateur and professional ship modelers who enjoy sharing their work and discussing tips and tricks of the trade. Within GCSMS there is an active group of remote control ship modelers.

Industry and the Environment HMM hosts lectures by members of the maritime community and academia highlighting innovation and progress in the maritime industry.

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Galveston and the Texas Seaport Museum

Architectural History Mobility Maritime Museums Historic Ships and the Texas Navy

Galveston is located on Galveston and Pelican Islands on the Gulf Coast. It was the main port of the Texas Navy and later served as the capital of Texas. During the 19th century, Galveston was a commercial center, the largest city in Texas and a major port in America. The city’s six historic districts include:

The Silk Stocking District with historic homes constructed from the Civil War through World War II;

The East End on both sides of Broadway and Market Streets, contains 463 buildings;

The Strand is home to Victoria era buildings that have been adapted for use as restaurants, antique stores, historical exhibits, museums and art galleries. Today, it is generally used to refer to the five-block business district between 20th and 25th streets in downtown Galveston, near the city’s wharf, that hosts the yearly Mardi Gras festival, Galveston Island Jazz & Blues Festival and Dickens on the Strand, a Victorian-themed Christmas festival in early December.

Ashton VillaAshton Villa is a red-brick Victorian Italianate home constructed in 1859 by James Moreau Brown. One of the first brick structures in Texas, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark. The structure is also the site of what was to become the holiday known as Juneteenth where, on June 19, 1865, all slaves in Texas were emancipated. Galveston’s modern architecture includes the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens.

The Preservation Resource Center assists in learning about Galveston’s architectural history through property research, neighborhood information, and technical rehabilitation guidance.  It welcomes owners and prospective owners of historic properties, newcomers to Galveston, real estate agents, contractors, students, and preservation professionals.

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A deep-water channel connects the harbor with the Gulf and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Galveston is the number one cruise port on the Gulf Coast and fourth in the United States. It is also home to several historic ships: the tall ship Elissa berthed at the Texas Seaport Museum, the USS Cavalla and Stewart, both berthed at on nearby Pelican Island.

tall shipsThe Texas Seaport Museum tells the story of a rich legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration. Look for ancestors in a computer database containing the names of more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston.

The Galveston Historical Foundation and the Texas Navy Association tell the story of local naval maritime history, highlighting the ships that kept the shores of the Gulf Coast safe from invaders, both foreign and domestic; an exhibit that takes you back to a time of cannon fire, sailing ships and adventure on the high seas. Focusing on the 1st and 2nd Texas Navies, museum goers will see artifacts and paintings of the time, as well as ships models, including the infamous topsail schooner Independence.

Elissa was built during the decline of the Age of Sail to fill a niche in maritime commerce. Over her 90-year commercial history she carried cargoes to ports around the world, for a succession of owners. Today, she is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail in the Gulf of Mexico.

marine biology toursThe Marine Biology Tour provides participants with a hands-on opportunity to observe dolphins and other species in their natural habitat, trawl for and handle marine organisms, study plankton through a microscopic lens, and explore Galveston Bay’s rich history. The tour lasts one and a half hours.

The Center for Coastal Heritage is a resource for practitioners working at the cross-section of the built environment and natural environment and a commitment to coastal resilience, sustainability and environmental health.

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Rockport and the Texas Maritime Museum

Rockport is located on the Live Oak Peninsula which divides the western shore of Aransas Bay, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern shore of Copano Bay.

A Tourist Destination with access to various forms of marine recreation and attractions such as boating, bay, offshore, wade, beach, and pier fishing, duck hunting, waterskiing, swimming, birdwatching, and seafood.

Hoopes smith houseThe Rockport Art Festival is a major event with art exhibitions, auctions, and vendors congregating in the city around the Fourth of July holiday. A more recent addition to the city’s list of popular annual attractions is the Rockport Film Festival which has screened and judged entries since 2007.

The city is also home to an aquarium and multiple historic sites such as the city’s heritage district as well as numerous art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

The History of the Texas Maritime Museum goes back to the late 1970’s at the Rockport annual Sea Fair Festival where maritime enthusiasts would bring out their personal collections of motors, fishing equipment and mounted fish for the public’s view.

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In 1987 the Texas Legislature named the Texas Maritime Museum the official Maritime Museum

The Museum’s purpose is to recount Texas maritime history through artifacts, documents, and other materials of unique or historical value; collections and exhibits are based on four central themes:

Technology of offshore petroleum production and transportation

Development of Texas seaports, maritime communities and commerce along the Gulf of Mexico

Exploration and Settlement history of the Texas Gulf Coast beginning with the Spanish and French

The Texas seafood and fishing industry

Texas Maritime MuseumThe La Salle Odyssey is a seven-member coalition of museums from Corpus Christi to Bay City which tell the story of the ill-fated French expedition of René-Robert Cavalier de La Salle in search of the Mississippi River in 1685-86.

Maritime Commerce explores the different shipyards and area boat builders and how maritime communities developed further inland, and goods were transported from Gulf of Mexico ports along the rivers.  Local boat builders the Farley Brothers, Rockport Yacht and Supply Company, and Jacob Schultz crafted vessels specifically for the coastal waters, offshore fishing and shrimping.

Educational Programs educate visitors about maritime history in Texas. The Education Department is dedicated to achieving this mission by engaging guests of all ages through our tours, lectures, movie nights, camps and tailored educational programs.

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