Essex Shipbuilding Museum

Reblogged from Gloucester Daily Times

ESSEX — The Smithsonian Museum’s traveling exhibit “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America” comes to Essex this weekend, and the Smithsonian has announced additional programing to coincide the event.

“Crossroads: Changes in Rural America,” will be on view this Saturday, Sept. 10, through Oct. 22 at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum and Town Hall.

In January, the Smithsonian announced Essex would be one of six Massachusetts communities to host the traveling exhibit which examines demographic shifts in the United States from rural to urban areas. The exhibits are on view at Town Hall, 30 Martin St., and at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, 28 and 66 Main St.

Essex Shipbuilding Museum received staff training and a $10,000 grant from Massachusetts Humanities to develop the exhibits’ accompanying 11 scheduled events. Each program will be held at the museum, 66 Main St., except when noted.

“This is such a unique opportunity for us to not only showcase the deep history of our community that many people do not know, but also the immense sense of pride of place we locals have for Essex,” said Essex Shipbuilding Museum Executive Director KD Montgomery in a prepared statement. “While we may be small, a single voice can make a huge impact on the rest of the community. Whether you’re a regular tourist or are visiting for the first time, our goal is to inspire and educate our guests on just how special Essex was and is currently.”

A launch party will be held at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum shipyard on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon. Coffee, tea and light breakfast snacks will be provided. Tours of the exhibits Then, on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 7 to 8 p.m., Gloucester and Essex Shellfish Constables Rebecca Visnick and William Novak, respectively, will present “The Color of the Tide,” a discussion on the history of Essex’s clamming industry.

“Sketching Through History” will be held on Sundays, Sept. 18 and Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. Jessica Yurwitz of Slow River Studio in Topsfield will discus artistic renditions of Essex vistas over the years. Registration is required for this event.

Over three Thursdays — Sept. 22, Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. — the Smithsonian will host community-led focus groups on ways to improve the town’s primary cultural institutions. Registration is also required for these events.

Manchester Essex Regional High School faculty and students will present a Dungeons and Dragons meet-up on Sunday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon. Children are welcome to create their own Essex-themed campaigns for Essex Shipbuilding Museum’s archives.

“A Legacy Continues, Shipbuilding in Essex” is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 7 to 8 p.m. National Heritage Fellow Harold Burnham and fellow shipwrights Brad Story and Jeff Lane will discuss the history of shipbuilding in Essex and how the industry continues in the modern era.

Cogswell’s Grant site manager Kristen Weiss will lead a walking tour of the property on Saturday, Oct. 1, at a time to be announced. The program, “What the Hay? Four Centuries of Farming in Essex,” will touch on how Historic New England continues the farm’s historic agricultural practices with recreation and conservation.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, Essex Shipbuilding Museum historian Kurt Wilhelm will host “Our Family Forest,” an overview of his genealogical studies on various Essex bloodlines.

Mary Rose O’Connell of Cape Ann Plein Air will host painting demonstrations on Monday, Oct. 3, from noon to 2 p.m.

Guests are welcome to learn more about the Great Marsh, including its role in the town’s ecosystem, at “A Piece of Something Great, The Story of the Marsh,” on Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. The event will be hosted by Selectman and Great Marsh Coalition member Peter Phippen.

Salem State University professor Dr. Beth Jay and graduate student Mary Larkin will host a panel discussion on Essex’s history on Sunday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Finally, a wrap party will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“It’s been such an eye-opening experience working with the amazing team at the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum and we are excited to see the town’s history take on a new life as part of this programming,” said Massachusetts Humanities Executive Director Brian Boyles in a prepared statement. “It has never been more important to embrace and support each and every small community in Massachusetts. We hope with The Smithsonian Museum on Main Street making its rounds, more people will fall in love with these rural outposts like Essex, just as we have.”

More information on these events and the exhibit and registration for the accompanying program may be found at

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or

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