Museum Mission Statement


  • To preserve the heritage of the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Interpret their culture and their contribution to the region.
  • To provide and support educational opportunities.
  • To preserve and enhance the environment of the Chesapeake Bay

Our Local History

The importance of Watermen in our local economy neither began nor ended in the eighteenth century. The term ‘Waterman’ is an ancient one, and is only used widely on the Thames River in England and on the Chesapeake Bay.  The name describes those hardy people who make their living on the water. Traditionally, the term was also used for ferrymen, boat and ship pilots, and any others whose occupations took them on the Thames River year round.  In the modern era, the ‘Waterman’ name still applies to everyone from our original American Indian tribes to colonial settlers, marine merchants and crews, Navy sailors, Coasties, marine scientists and many others.  And if you ask local folks, the ‘Waterman’ moniker can also specifically describe the local fishermen involved in the harvesting of fish and shellfish, people whom other areas of the country would call commercial fishermen.  As our mission describes, it is our purpose to make sure visitors gain an insight into the importance of these people, not only to the modern tasks of providing great seafood, but to the broad spectrum of Watermen who have helped forge and sustain our great nation from before the colonists arrived to the modern day and into tomorrow.