FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 9, 2020
KINGSTON, NY – The Hudson River Maritime Museum is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All spring events have been cancelled or postponed until the end of May, 2020. Programs occurring after May will be assessed on a rolling basis. All program registration is currently on hold, but interested parties are encouraged to sign up for a wait list. When the program is opened back up or rescheduled, waitlist applicants will have first choice of confirming their registration with payment.
Those who have already paid for cancelled or postponed programs have the option to pause and reschedule for a later date, receive a full refund, or donate their payment to the museum.
The museum campus is still open for social distancing walking, but all buildings are closed to the public. Our partners at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater will remain on our docks and in the Kingston Homeport and Education Center for the foreseeable future. Clearwater crew are living on board the boat and we ask that members of the public avoid the areas near the boat and the Homeport building (also known as “The Barn”) for the safety of the crew.
The museum docks will be open for limited, pre-arranged seasonal docking. In addition, docks will be available for any transient boaters in need of overnight docking. Transient boaters in need must register online through Dockwa or by calling the museum’s dock phone (845-706-8881). All payments must be made by credit card online or over the phone. All boaters must adhere to social distancing rules. Museum buildings, including restroom/shower facilities, the Wooden Boat School, and the museum itself will not be open to boaters for everyone’s safety. Water and electricity will be available. For more information, visit www.hrmm.org/docking.
The museum’s rowing docks will be available to qualified users (contact the museum to see if you qualify), but only for the use of single person boats. No multi-person boats allowed.
Members of the public are not allowed on the Museum’s docks for insurance and safety reasons. Docks are for registered boaters only.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum’s Wooden Boat School had a number of nitrile gloves and N95 masks on hand prior to the pandemic. Over the last few weeks museum staff had been coordinating with the state to try to donate them to the state stockpile. At the same time, a Boat School volunteer contacted us, offering to make a donation to cover the cost of any personal protective equipment we could donate to local hospitals. Last week, YouthBoat graduate and Boat School volunteer Ben Geskie asked whether or not the Boat School had any PPE on hand. Ben’s father works as an ICU nurse at Vassar Hospital in Dutchess County and they were in need of supplies.
Sometimes, things just come together. On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, Ben and his mother picked up 170 N95 masks and 700 nitrile gloves to transport to Vassar Hospital. The Boat School volunteer (who prefers to remain anonymous) has made a donation to the museum to cover the cost of the supplies. Once the pandemic is over, the museum will be able to restock the Boat School.
NEW ONLINE PROGRAMS
As the museum is closed, we are working on expanding our online offerings through our history blog (www.hrmm.org/history-blog) and through Museum At Home (www.hrmm.org/museum-at-home), where members of the public can browse online exhibits, articles, oral histories, images, and more, completely free of charge. Museum staff and volunteers are working hard to ensure seven days a week of blog posts, including history articles, steamboat biographies, Throwback Tuesdays, Music Mondays, historic newspaper articles, videos, and travelogues on the Hudson River. We encourage those interested to sign up for our email list to receive updates and blog posts highlighting the history and culture of our valley in their inboxes daily.
The museum is also launching a series of social media initiatives, including the Hudson Riverscapes photo contest on Facebook. Participants can submit photos weekly for weekly awards of free museum memberships to photos that garner the most likes and comments. At the end of the pandemic, the photo with the most likes and comments overall will be awarded a free charter aboard museum’s the solar-powered tour boat Solaris. The charter can be redeemed as soon as Solaris is back in the water and allowed to take passengers, or through the end of the 2021 season. The museum will also be launching Hudson River Bingo on Facebook and Instagram, as well as sharing blog posts, videos, historic photos, and more. You can join us at facebook.com/hudsonrivermartimemuseum or instagram.com/hudsonrivermaritimemuseum.
FUTURE OF MUSEUM
In the past several years the Hudson River Maritime Museum has grown exponentially and programs have grown along with it. The Hudson River Maritime Museum has become a destination for tourists and locals alike, open 7 days a week in the summer and all winter long. History tours, lectures, school field trips, youth boatbuilding, sailing, and rowing programs, along with adult woodworking, boatbuilding, sailing, and rowing programs have all made significant contributions not only to the museum’s coffers but to the revitalization of downtown Kingston.
Unfortunately, this increased reliance on program income has meant that the prospect of a closed museum for the spring and potentially the summer has put a huge dent in the museum’s budget. More than 60% of the budget comes directly from program income, with additional funding from general admissions to the museum. For this reason, the museum has been forced to lay off over half of its staff and remaining staff are working at 40% of their normal hours. Even if the museum is able to open in the fall, the winter months provide less income than spring and summer.
The museum is in dire financial straits without program income. We are currently applying for federal relief funding under the Small Business Administration, which, if awarded, will help us in the short-term. But the long-term success of the museum and its vibrant community programs depends on individual and business support. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Hudson River Maritime Museum depends on donations. The newly passed CARES Act has changed tax filings and now allows for those who itemize their taxes to deduct 100% of charitable donations in 2020. Even those who do not itemize can still deduct up to $300.
2020 is the 40th anniversary of the Hudson River Maritime Museum opening its doors on the Rondout and we had planned the best season yet. Sadly, that season as planned is not to be, but the remaining museum staff are working hard to ensure that we can come back stronger than ever to make our 41st year better than ever. The museum is asking the entire Hudson River Valley community to please help ensure that we are around for another 40 years. Our river’s heritage and culture are too valuable to lose.
Those who are able to donate, we encourage you to visit www.hrmm.org/covid19.
Thank you for your support. We won’t get through this without you.
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For interviews or additional information, please contact Lisa Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-338-0071 ext. 20.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1979 to collect, preserve, research, exhibit, and interpret a collection of historical artifacts related to the maritime heritage of the Hudson River and its tributaries. This is the only museum in New York State exclusively dedicated to this mission.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.
Become a member and receive benefits like unlimited free museum admission, discounts on classes, programs, and in the museum store, plus invitations to members-only events.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum receives no federal, state, or municipal funding except through competitive, project-based grants. Your donation helps support our mission of education and preservation.