Maritime museum rolls out campaign to triple membership


By Jonathan Mattise - TCPalm

The Maritime & Boating Museum at Indian RiverSide Park is kicking off a word-of-mouth campaign aimed to triple membership in less than two months, all in hopes of eventually expanding its facilities at the park.

Museum board members and volunteers are focusing on hitting 1,000 members by mid-April through several grassroots initiatives.

The museum, currently with about 240 members, dropped its membership prices to $15 for a single person, $20 for a couple and $35 for a family until April 15.

By that time, board members hope to add about 750 members through a Pay-It-Forward member referral challenge, membership parties, and by bringing along potential members to the museum and its special events.

“The museum needs to increase its volume, its quantity of members, its base of support, so that when we go to larger donors we can show that we have an extended group of people who have invested in our museum,” said Museum Executive Director Sheila Stewart-Leach.

Board members and volunteers at the museum currently in the Frances Langford Pavilion’s first floor hope the initiative will pave the way for plans to construct its own facilities at Indian RiverSide.

Adding the proposed three buildings at the north end of the park including space for exhibits, boat restoration, wooden boat galleries and a 180-seat auditorium would probably cost about $15 million, said Doug Smith, Martin County commissioner and museum board president.

“I’m really excited. I can see the museum in my head, in terms of what it’s going to look like,” Smith said. “How those pieces all fit together I can see the exhibits, the displays.

It gives us the chance to tie this marvelous piece of our cultural history with our local history.”



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