NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Mariners' Museum and Park is embracing a new theme that celebrates everyone's connection to the water.
"The Multicultural Mariner" will highlight different ethnicities and groups throughout the year, the museum says, beginning with recognized heritage months:
- Black History Month: February 1 – March 1
- Women’s History Month: March 1 – March 31
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 1 – May 31
- Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 – October 15
- Native American Heritage Month: November 1 – November 30
"We receive all these daily reminders of the forces that are kind of tearing at the fabric of our community, but we have this really powerful narrative here about how we're actually bound together as a community through this shared connection to the water," said Howard Hoege, President and CEO of the museum.
Hoege tells News 3 the roots of this effort date back a few years ago, when, in an effort to make the Mariners' Museum more excessible, admission was lowered to $1. Hoege says his staff also put an emphasis on free programming and different methods of outreach.
The museum also began looking into its own multicultural past. An effort called Hidden Histories aimed to identify the African American photographed pouring the foundation of the Mariners' Museum in the 1930s.
"We now know the names of all the people that built this institution," said Hoege.
March 1 will begin the museum's Women's History Month content and with each heritage month, the Mariners' Museum plans to put out guides to direct visitors to subject-specific artifacts and objects. That's just the beginning of the outreach efforts.
"(There will be) blogs, digital content, virtual programming, in-person programming. So much to help fulfill our mission," said Erika Cosme, Content and Interpretation Developer.
That mission — to show that our heritage on the water is a multicultural one. It's a message the Mariners' Museum and Park plans to showcase for years to come.