Maritime Tidings

Maritime Tidings is a collection of videos, blog posts, articles, collection spotlights, and more from our staff, docents, board of directors, and prominent figures in the maritime world. Houston Maritime aims to provide educational content for anyone who has ever had an interest in maritime history or the museum at Houston Maritime.

Maritime Tidings includes content with a time commitment of 15 minutes or less, creating short, digestible information on a variety of topics from a variety of content creators.

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Sea Stories with Kevin Morley | Part 1

Industry | Maritime History | My Maritime Story
Oh Captain, My Captain In the spring of 1974, after a year and a half at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (known as Kings Point to most), it was time to embark on the school’s real-world curriculum of spending a year at sea on various U.S. flag merchant ships. I was 19 years old. On…

Government in Maritime History

Maritime History | Members Only
Docent Milt Rose gives a 1 hour tour of the Houston Maritime Gallery, focusing on the role Government has played in maritime history.
This post is only available to members.

HM’s Set Sail Mural

Collection Spotlight
For those who have visited Houston Maritime’s interim site at the corner of Navigation and Canal, you may have noticed the stunning artwork decorating the wall along the entry way to the museum gallery. This mural was designed and painted by local Houston graffiti artist Anthony Rose. Flanked by anchors, the mural creates an imposing…

Board President – Tom Johnson

Meet the Team
In 1965 Tom joined with a few San Antonio high school graduate’s intent on attending Texas A&M University.  As one of the first few classes to graduate the Texas Maritime Academy as part of Texas A&M, Tom obtained a BS in Marine Engineering and has spent the entirety of his almost 50 year maritime career serving…

A 400-Year-Old Dying Art Form

Collection Spotlight | Maritime History
Many docents have donated models or contributed articles about individual ships or exhibits in the collection at Houston Maritime. As a miniature artist, I have donated many miniature models to the collection. To accompany those models, I requested to write an article about a 400-year-old dying art form and an art form for which I…

Welcome Pete Hames

Meet the Team
Welcome aboard to Peter Hames our newest volunteer. Pete recently retired from management consulting with over 54 years’ experience in the maritime industry. In January he enrolled in an online master’s degree program in Maritime and Naval Studies offered by SUNY Maritime College. One of his classes has been Introduction to the Issues and Challenges…

Karankawa Indians of the Texas Coast

Maritime History
The Karankawa, loosely translated to ‘dog lovers’, lived along the coast of Texas long before French and Spanish explorers settled the area. It is unknown when the Karankawa first established themselves in small units of 30 – 40 people along the Texas coastline, but the first recorded encounter with the Karankawa Indians was initiated accidentally…

Texian Navy Day

Maritime History
Celebrated on the third Saturday in September, this day of recognition aims to bring light to the little-known Texas Navy. While Texas has never had a single, long-standing navy, a small fleet of ships was formed and maintained by the Republic of Texas between 1835 and 1846, after which  Texas became part of the United…

How PT Boats Helped General MacArthur Escape Capture

External Publications | Maritime History
Smithsonian Magazine has published a great video about the use of PT boats helping General MacArthur evade enemy capture. CLICK HERE to check out the article!

Ship Channel Exhibit

Collection Spotlight | Industry
Sponsored by Sage Energy Partners, the Ship Channel Exhibit is the museum’s newest exhibit designed to showcase the Houston Ship Channel and its massive economic impact on the city. We can’t wait to show you the exhibit in person!

The Royal Caroline

Collection Spotlight
Back in the day, royalty liked to travel in style, and what could be a better means of transport than a handsomely fitted out yacht. The history of royalyachts in Great Britain began with the 1716 conversion of a small 190 ton frigate, Peregrine Galley, into a well appointed yacht, Carolina, named for the Princess…

The Elissa

Collection Spotlight
The Elissa was launched in 1877 from Aberdeen, Scotland when sailing ships were in decline but could still earn a profit in the right trades. As a three-masted, iron-hulled barque, she carries square sails on her fore andmain masts, but only fore- and aft- sails, those parallel to the keel, on her mizzen masts. Her…

Napoleonic Prisoner of War

Collection Spotlight
During my 10 year affiliation with the museum, I have seen its collection grow in size and quality. Important areas that were not represented ten years ago are in featured exhibits today. Members of the Gulf Coast Ship Modelers Society create and contribute outstanding models to fill collection voids. The workmanship and quality standards of…

The Higgins Boat

Collection Spotlight
LCVP – Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel The LCVP is the World War II landing craft conceived by a Louisiana lumberman, Andrew Higgins. The boat was used extensively by all the Allies, but primarily by the U.S. Forces to quickly put infantry on an enemy shore. In just over twenty years, between 1918 and 1939, the…

Remembering Harry Bounds

Meet the Team
Harry C. Bounds was born in Baltimore, Md. on May 22, 1925 and died on June 26, 2014 under much loving care by his second wife Verlyn. In 1936, Harry moved to Houston with his family. He joined the Navy on May 22, 1942 the day he turned 17, and went around the world and…

Offshore Mischief

Collection Spotlight
Self-elevating Offshore Drilling Rig One of the most striking (and larger) models on display at the Houston Maritime Museum in the Energy Industry exhibit is the self-elevating offshore drilling rig “OFFSHORE MISCHIEF”. Properly referred to in the offshore industry as a mobile offshore drilling unit or “MODU”. This enormous machine is among the largest of…

The Vasa

Collection Spotlight
Vasa is a Swedish warship built over two years (1626-1628). On her maiden voyage out of Stockholm Harbor on August 10th, 1628, the ship foundered and sank after sailing about 1,300 meters. She sat in 30 meters of water for 333 years until she was located again in 1956. She was salvaged with a largely…

HMS Bergamot

Collection Spotlight
In the yearly years of WWII, the loss of ships crossing the Atlantic with supplies for the allies was staggering. German U-boats were responsible for most of this toll. The tide was turned with the development of the convoy system and the construction of a large number of corvettes of the “Flower” class (they were…

The Laura

Collection Spotlight
This year, the Port of Houston is celebrating one hundred years as a center for trade and industry. Before Houston was officially a leading world port, the area relied on a variety of small watercraft — a far cry from today’s tankers and Triple-E container ships — to navigate the waterways that lead to present-day…

Navy Teaching Models for the Imperial Japanese Navy

Collection Spotlight
During WWII, seamen and aviators needed to be able to recognize and distinguish enemy from allied vessels, in order to determine threats and prevent friendly fire. The US Navy commissioned Comet Metal Products Co., Inc. to fabricate sets of spotter models that coule be used to teah pilots and sailors. These sets included fleets of…

Flying Cloud

Collection Spotlight
Prominently displayed in the Sailing Merchant Marine room at Houston Maritime is the model of the Flying Cloud, modeled by Ken Marshall. The Flying Cloud was an extreme clipper designed and built by Donald McKay at his shipyard in East Boston, MA, and launched in April 1851. The vessel’s commissioner intended the Flying Cloud to…

HMS Victory

Collection Spotlight
On my first visit to the Houston Maritime Museum over a year ago, I was delighted by the beautiful ship models on display, especially the models of wooden sailing ships, with their artful lines and fine workmanship. One model stood out as it was the largest of its type on display. The model is the…


Collection Spotlight
The submarine U-596 was one of over 1100 U-boats (for “Unterseeboot” = “under-sea boat”) built by Germany both before and during World War II. The TypeVII was the most numerous of all U-boats built by German, with over 700 being built. The U-596 was constructed at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and…

Truss Spar

Collection Spotlight
This past month, Technip generously donated a new model, which is now on display in our Offshore Energy exhibit. Spars are floating oil platforms that consist of a vertical steel structure, measuring up to 900 feet from the top of the drilling mast to the submerged ballast tank. Pipelines from multiple oil wells feed into…

Carl Zeiss Jena Binoculars

Collection Spotlight
This pair of binoculars was donated to Houston Maritime by our Wednesday docent, Laurence Shallenberger. His father, George G. Shallenberger, purchased these Carl Zeiss Jena binoculars while on vacation in Glacier National park, Montana, 1936. Founded in 1846, German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss Jena’s lenses are considered some of the best in the world leading…

Whit Drake

Meet the Team
Whit Drake combines incredible knowledge of the maritime world with humorous anecdotes of the ships, people, and places related to the stories in our museum. His fun and engaging tours are the highlight of our Tuesdays! What is your maritime background? None! I’m the first docent without a maritime background; my hobby is history, especially…

Rum Rhapsody

Museum Events
Did you miss this event? Don’t worry, we’ll have similar events in the future, and here is a recipe to tide you over until then! The Houston Maritime Museum was packed on February 17, 2017, as guests came together to enjoy a “walking tour” on the history and mixing of the favorite drink for sailors…

USS Houston: Ships Named In Honor

Maritime History
In collaboration with the USS Houston CA-30 Survivors Association, the Houston Maritime Museum has opened our new exhibit “USS Houston: Ships Named in Honor.” This exhibit not only tells the unique histories of the four ships that have been named USS Houston, but also the heart-wrenching saga of the brave men who fought against all…

Laurence Shallenberger

Meet the Team
Laurence Shallenberger’s life-long interest in the sea, boats and airplanes lead him to the museum. Following military service and a long career with Exxon, Laurence docked at the maritime museum. Since joining the crew nine years ago, Laurence has become one of our most sought after docents. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the maritime stories…

105 Years Ago…

Maritime History
Titanic History The Titanic might be the world’s most famous ship, and has been the subject of countless books, films, and documentaries. The ocean liner reached mythical status stemming from the claims of it being ?unsinkable” but following her loss on April 15, 1912, Titanic continues to captivate minds today. Unsolved mysteries have surrounded the…

Meet our Board Chairman

Meet the Team
Robert A. Fry, Jr. Years ago I had the privilege meeting Jim Manzolillo, the founder of the Houston Maritime Museum. I was impressed with his knowledge of the maritime industry and his vision for a museum to tell its story. As of this month, I have the honor of serving as Chairman of the Board…

Linda Lord

Meet the Team
Linda has been a volunteer at Houston Maritime Musem for over two years. During her first visit to Houston Maritime, Linda became interested in ship modeling, and she continues to pursue that hobby today. After a successful career in chemical engineering, Linda became a volunteer at Houston Maritime, where she has primarily been involved with…

Core Samples and Crude Oil

Collection Spotlight
They Come From the Crust The need to find new energy resources has led to pioneering technologies in the oil industry. One of these is the practice of core sampling by the use of a hollow drill that collects cylindrical selections of the Earth’s crust. Today, extracting oil located in the shale and sandstone is…