Monday, December 9, 2019

2018 - Klingel film

A busy year, the MMF-sponsored Sea Scout Ship 1791 sailed aboard the Intrigue and Bayslady. 

And we celebrated the premier of Gilbert Klingel: Man of Steel, the documentary produced by Dave Miller about the naturalist and boatbuilder. Thanks again to our volunteers and donors!

More about the making of this film and about the sea scouts can be found at…

And DVD’s are available on our online giftshop…

Monday, November 25, 2019

2017 - Freya Returns

In May of 2017, the Gilbert Klingel-built sailboat Freya returned home to Gwynn's Island.

Read more about the Freya project at...

Monday, November 4, 2019

2016 - The Mathews Men

In 2016 we honored Merchant Mariners of Mathews County from WWII by hosting an old-fashioned, patriotic assembly at Harry M. Ward Auditorium, Mathews High School. Author Bill Geroux introduced his book, “THE MATHEWS MEN: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-Boats”, and the event was followed by a WWII exhibit at the museum.

Monday, October 21, 2019

2015 - Peggy at Harborfest

Ninty-year old flagship, Peggy of New Point, was honored in 2015 by leading the Annual Workboat Parade at Norfolk's Harborfest. This same year, she also attended the Cape Charles Tall Ship Celebration and joined the Chesapeake Bay Buy Boats at a rendezvous in Poquoson.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

2014 - Poker Run

MMF held a poker run in 2014 to benefit Peggy of New Point's restoration. Bikers from Mathews, Gloucester, Hampton, Newport News and Richmond came out to ride and pick crabs at the Boat Shop on Gwynn’s Island. 
Peggy attended the Urbanna Oyster Festival and volunteers introduced students to the art of pound net fishing and the 2-man saw, part of Marine Education Day for Middlesex Co. schools.
Also this year, local artist Jane Partin painted the deckboat Peggy, selling prints to benefit the Peggy Endowment Fund.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

2013 - Peggy Re-Christening

On a rainy Sat. in Oct., 2013, the 88 year old Peggy of New Point was christened into her new role as a seagoing representative of the maritime heritage of Mathews Co. This new role has her on display at various waterfront festivals throughout the Tidewater, appearing as she did during her days fishing pound nets, the purpose she was built for. Christening festivities and a silent auction were held at Kingston Plantation in North, with a second get-together the following day at Lynne’s Family Restaurant.

Monday, September 16, 2019

2012 - Peggy Endowment Fund

The Peggy Endowment Fund was established in 2012, for the upkeep and maintenance of the Peggy of New Point. 

This same year, her pilot house won a trophy for Best Float by a Non-Commercial Organization in the Mathews Christmas Parade.

2011 - The Albert B. Corey Award

In 2011, MMF received the Albert B. Corey/Leadership in History Award for work on the Mathews Maritime Heritage Trail. The award was presented by the American Assoc. for State and Local History at their annual conference in Richmond, VA. Shown here are Dave Montgomery, Janet Loyd, Dave Machen & Marcy Benouameur.
Also that year, the Maritime Foundation honored master boat builder Edward Diggs. A surprise reception was held for him in the Museum's newly renovated exhibit area, filling it with his boat models.

Friday, August 23, 2019

2010 - Building Sailboats for 4-H Camp

Fundraising began in 2010 to provide sailboats for the Jamestown 4-H Camp's newly established sailing program. Local clubs, marinas, and individuals adopted boats to be built and repaired by volunteers and youth, and guided by professional boat builders.
In the same year, renovations began inside our Museum building at 482 Main Street... opening up interior space for larger display objects and meeting space, and making the building handicap accessible. We are grateful to the many volunteers that came together and got it done!
And also in 2010, RCC's Marine Trades Program held its first class, ABYC certification on diesel engines, at our Gwynn’s Island Boat Shop location. A busy year for the foundation!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2009 - Restoration of the Peggy of New Point begins

10 years ago the Mathews Maritime Foundation launched into an extensive overhaul of the Mathews-built 1925 vessel, Peggy of New Point, shown here at Horn Harbor. Photos of the process and more can be found on her blog at
2009 also marked the formation of the Heritage Trail. This partnership project highlights the coastal landscape and nautical heritage, starting with the East River. The Heritage Trail is a companion guide to the Mathews Blueways Trail. Guide info is at

Monday, July 29, 2019

2008 - Chesapeake Bay Day

This educational event was organized after the Mathews Maritime Foundation administered a quiz to middle schoolers to find out how much the children knew about their county. The results deemed it necessary!
And so the 1st annual Chesapeake Bay Day was held at Thomas Hunter Middle School in November of 2008. The volunteer-run program has become an annual event for 6th graders. It is fun and interactive, and all about the water that surrounds them.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

2007 - Model Boat Building

Back in 2007, volunteers from the Mathews Maritime Foundation began teaching children from Thomas Hunter Middle School and the Mathews Boys & Girls Club the art of model boat building.

Friday, June 28, 2019

2006 - Museum location found

In July of 2006, the Maritime Foundation moved its museum to the current location at 482 Main Street, Mathews Courthouse. The museum displays donated and loaned maritime artifacts, photos, and memorabilia. We recognize that these memories will be forgotten if not preserved! An official Open House for the museum was held the following February celebrating the heart of Mathews, its water.
Also in this year, the foundation held its very first Heritage Day, and produced its first Mathews Maritime Calendar, which featured on its cover the "Ellen Marie" built by L.R. and Alton Smith.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

2005 - Family boatbuilding

Our first ever family boatbuilding event was held for a week in July 2005. It was held in conjunction with Wooden Boat Magazine's 3rd Annual Family Boat Building Week.
Family and friends worked together with a professional boat builder to build a Bevins skiff, a 13 ft. flat bottom wooden skiff, that they could take home with them once complete. The boat was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly.
Open to anyone, families and friends acquired boat-building skills, but also cooperation, developing a strong sense of pride in each other as they got to see the value of each person's contribution to the task. "It's not 10 families building 10 boats, but 10 families seeing to it that 10 boats get built."

Monday, June 10, 2019

2004 - Boat Donor program begins

The boat donor program got its start in 2004 thanks to the generosity of the people of Mathews and the surrounding area. The program received 11 boats, and sold 7 of them, raising $6,575. Newly donated boats were stored at the Gwynn's Island Boatel, owned and operated at that time by David and Patty Fitch. Shown in our boat donor photo are Joe Ortiz and Jack Galbraith. The Foundation also received national recognition in Chesapeake Bay magazine the same year.

2003 - Adam's video

Here it is, the video by Adam Vrooman, Mathews County Maritime Legacy. Adam created the video for the Mathews Maritime Foundation back in 2003, while working to reach Eagle Scout. 

Transferred from VHS tape (thank you Dave Machen) it pops, crackles and jumps, but is still such a good project, we had to include it. 

2003 - First video

Back in 2003, Adam Vrooman, working to earn his Eagle Scout rating, created the Mathews Maritime Foundation’s very first video titled "Mathews County A Maritime Legacy". This outstanding project explores the county's prominent waterways, boat-building families, types of vessels built, and ties local landmarks and events to our maritime timeline. The video is still a wonderful example of why the Maritime Foundation exists. Thank you Adam.

2002 - Relics found

An exciting day back in 2002 when tools were discovered at the Blackwater Creek dig site, at Gabriel Miller's Boat Yard.

2001 - Archaeological investigation begins

Investigation into the history of the boat-building industry of Mathews County was conducted by trained archaeologists, Ned Lawless and Wyatt Vrooman. They started working around 1999, from records in Wyatt’s possession that indicated areas in the county where shipways had been in operation. At that time they identified a dozen or so sites, but had not done extensive digs at any of them. And so, in 2001, official digs began. One such site was located on Blackwater Creek.
Ned and Wyatt were the founders of the Mathews Maritime Foundation.

2000 - Grants received

In the year 2000, as a newly established Mathews Maritime Foundation, we received grants from the Treakle and Owens Foundations and the Mathews Market Days Committee.
How grateful we are to these two organizations for giving us that jumpstart.
And, also, the Mathews residents that believed that our county's maritime history was too often overlooked. It's because of them, their interests, ideas, their vision, that we exist. Thank you!

1999 - Mathews Maritime Foundation forms

In 1999, Amy & Wyatt Vrooman, Ned & Dia Lawless, and Jim Wood incorporated the Mathews Maritime Foundation. 

This non-profit organization would be dedicated to preserving, protecting and displaying examples of the rich and extensive maritime heritage of Mathews County through research, conservation, documentation and education. Originally the foundation had a long-term goal of establishing a living history museum and shipyard that accurately depicted the lives of individuals participating in the Mathews shipbuilding industry during the 19th century.