WOLFEBORO — The New Hampshire Boat Museum recently paid off the mortgage on 4-acres of waterfront property it purchased last year on Lake Winnipesaukee’s Back Bay in Wolfeboro.
According to NHBM Executive Director Martha Cummings, this development is a major step forward in the museum's capital campaign and builds off several fairly recent “unseen accomplishments.”
“We completed the initial site survey work last year, which resulted in our plot plan,” she said. “We then received a first ‘special use permit for parking and water management’ from the town this past September.
With these steps behind them, Cummings said the next phase in the capital campaign consists of raising additional money to construct “a beautiful, 10,000 square-foot year-round, state-of-the-art museum facility.”
“If enough funding is secured in the next six months, we would like to break ground in the fall of this year,” she said.
The need for a larger, year-round facility, noted Kristin Isley, co-chair of the capital campaign and vice president of the organization's board, reflects the museum’s larger vision.
“We are more than a museum and bigger than boats,” she said.
Cummings agreed, and said the capital campaign is part of a master plan which seeks to expand all capacities of the museum.
According to Operations Manager Evan Liotta, a new year-round facility is an integral part of this plan.
“A bigger exhibit hall would allow more of our collections to be on display for public viewing more often,” he said. “We could also expand our educational programs, on-water programming and entertainment events.”
In addition to the new facility, Cummings said another important aspect of their capital campaign is renovation of their current building, for which funding has already been secured.
“It will be repurposed as a boat building and restoration workshop center,” she said. “We are thrilled to be able to replace the roof and add insulation to the building for this future use, but it will also have a great impact for this 2019 season.”
Liotta said some of the more notable changes for 2019 will include expansion of current programs and events.
“Our antique boat auction will be bigger and better than ever this year, and our Lake Discovery Camp has been in such demand that we doubled it from one week to two weeks,” he said. “We also hope our biannual Race Boat Regatta draw a larger audience than any before.”
In looking past 2019, Cummings said she is excited at the long-term future for NHBM, which she described as “a unique, experiential institution.”
“We have some incredibly diverse programs that range from boat building for youth and families to boat restoration, sailing classes, wooden power boat cruises and more,” she said. “This is a dynamic place.”
Through hands-on programs and activities, she said the museum brings to life what is special about boating on the lakes and rivers of New Hampshire.
“The museum is a place where you can learn about the history and evolution of boating on New Hampshire’s fresh water,” she said. “You can see beautiful, old wooden boats, and take rides in our own vintage boat replica 1928 Hacker Craft, the Millie B.”
These programs and experiences, she said, are for people of all ages.
“Boating attracts people for different reasons,” she noted. “It could be for speed, peace, fish, nature, or for exercise and fun. The New Hampshire Boat Museum helps to not only peel back the layers of a lifestyle that is distinctly American, it provides people with opportunities to experience boating in unique and memorable ways.”
Founded in 1992 by antique and classic boating enthusiasts, NHBM is committed to inspire people of all ages with an understanding of, and appreciation for, the boating heritage of New Hampshire’s fresh waterways.
To learn more about NHBM, or its capital campaign, visit nhbm.org.