News from both the Seaport Museum in New York and the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The Seaport Museum, until recently the South Street Seaport Museum, is shutting down its exhibits and shops. The ships will still be open for tours. We have posted recently about the latest financial crisis at the beleaguered museum.
In contrast, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, has two major projects underway – the construction of a replica of Cabrillo’s galleon, San Salvador, and a new exhibition of art and artifacts from three Westerners — the explorer Capt. James Cook, writer Herman Melville and artist Paul Gauguin — adrift in Polynesia.
Maritime Museum sails into uncharted waters
The museums at first glance are very similar – in addition to exhibition space, both museums own windjammers and schooners and a variety of other historic craft. Both museums are supported by energetic and enthusiastic volunteers. A closer look reveals how different the two institutions are. San Diego has earned a reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels, whereas the ships at the Seaport in New York have suffered through rounds of neglect. The Seaport in New York has always been a backdrop for real estate development.
Many of us on the East Coast look across the continent toward the Maritime Museum of San Diego with both admiration and a touch of envy. The museum in San Diego is what the South Street Seaport Museum could and should have been.