GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

October 26, 2012

Maritime Gloucester finds its niche

Maritime Gloucester settles into new roles

The red and white pinky schooner Ardelle leaves the pier behind Maritime Gloucester frequently with a group of elementary students aboard.

They head into the harbor, learning to take water samples, assess water quality, and spot native birds.

The Ardelle serves as Maritime Gloucester’s sail-powered research vessel and takes groups, from elementary students to undergraduates at Endicott College, out to study the harbor. The schooner, built and captained by Essex boat builder Harold Burnham is decked out with research equipment.

Maritime Gloucester, said Mary Kay Taylor, who heads the nonprofit’s educational programs, bases how it teaches marine science on Gloucester’s marine and fishing history. But the Ardelle also sits, says director Tom Balf, between Gloucester’s past, present, and future.

“Whether a kid wants to be a fisherman, a boat builder or a marine scientist, those worlds are open to them here,” said Balf.

Now a year into its reincarnation from the former Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Maritime Gloucester is an eclectic mix of museum, classroom, woodshop and laboratory.

On any given day, gig-rowing crews pound through the harbor, students in the COMPASS alternative high-school program work in the boat shop and visitors identify plankton through a microscope.

Maritime Gloucester essentially closes to the public at the end of this weekend, after opening for the season in May. While the center’s physical museum and aquarium won’t be open, staff will still be presenting their programs in schools, and the center will host several events though the winter months.

Through the end of November, students from the city elementary schools are also visiting the center for marine science classes. They have six sessions with Maritime Gloucester. Students, many of whom rush about excitedly and eagerly call out the answers to questions posed by the staff, learn everything from dissecting a squid and closely examining the insides of pollack, to studying animal and plant plankton, to learning about shipwrecks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow