Main Hall

From Boat to Table
Using objects, text, photographs, audio, and video, this interactive exhibit allows visitors to learn about all aspects of the seafood industry. Each section of the exhibit includes a look at changes over time with historical artifacts that speak to “Back when”.

Gearing Up presents the shoreside work involved in getting a vessel ready for fishing from vessel construction and the design and manufacture of nets and dredges to taking on fuel, ice, and provisions. Visitors can try mending a section of net and develop a grub list – a shopping list to feed their crew.

At Sea explores daily life aboard a fishing vessel including all aspects of the work, the use of technology for navigation and communication, and the importance of safety, as well as the experience of cooking, eating, and sleeping at sea. A wheelhouse creates a sense of shipboard life. A dress up area allows visitors to don fisherman’s clothing.

Sustaining the Resource provides an overview of industry efforts to ensure a healthy and plentiful resource including cooperative research which combines skills and knowledge of fishermen and scientists, advancements in technology, and gear modifications to allow for greater selectivity and reduced by-catch.

Landing the Catch follows the seafood from fish hold to auction, to processing plant, and finally to market. A seafood recipe exchange collects and disseminates community recipes. Settlement sheets from the 1960s and today illustrate changing economics.

The Fish News allows visitors to listen a broadcast by local radio personality Bill Brennan.  For over 20 years, Fish News was a vital link between sea and shore.  Listen to excerpts from a 1983 broadcast and browse our library of commercial fishing books and current and back issues of industry trade papers.


Ropeworks: Exploring the Nets & Knots of the Industry
April 13 – May 28, 2017

From the days of manila and hemp to the synthetic fibers in use on today’s vessels, rope has been central to the workings of the fishing industry. While nets and knots can be utilitarian, there is often a thin line (no pun intended) between occupational skill and maritime art. Some fishermen apply the skills they used in their work on the vessels to create decorative pieces such as knot boards, lanyards, and even purses.

The exhibit features the model nets of Tor Bendiksen; fenders and marlinspike artistry of Barbara Merry, Erika Hamer, and Gilman Hamer; Irish knitting of Ann Horkan; Norwegian knitting of Ingebjorg Hildur Bendiksen; and decorative ropework of Manny Vinagre (creator of the purse pictured) and Ole Andersen.  Poetry by fishermen Dave Densmore and Geno Leech, together with quotes from oral history interviews, highlight the importance of rope in the life of commercial fishermen.

This exhibit is made possible with support from R & W Rope.   It is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.