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Partner Spotlight: The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park

Introducing a new part of the Watermark blog, our Partner Spotlight. Each month we'll write about one of our heritage, educational and/or tourism partners in the Chesapeake Bay region. This month we're talking about the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park, their mission and how we work together.

The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park educates youth and adults about the Annapolis area's rich maritime heritage and the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay through programs, exhibits, community events and engaging hands-on activities. Situated on the waterfront in Eastport, the Museum provides the perfect setting for visitors to engage in interactive experiences that highlight the oyster and its role in shaping the history and the maritime culture of Annapolis. Visitors to the Museum learn how to harvest oysters, climb aboard a locally built workboat, or wade into one of the only public beaches in Annapolis. Artifacts as well as an 850-gallon oyster tank are on display to give visitors an understanding of the historic maritime culture that has made Annapolis what it is today. To boot, in the summer the Museum hosts a great outdoor concert series and their annual Annapolis Oyster Roast and Sock Burning and Boatyard Beach Bash are fun events for locals and visitors.

With a shared commitment to the heritage and health of the Chesapeake Bay and neighbors on the water, partnering with the Annapolis Maritime Museum is a natural fit for us at Watermark...particularly Destination Education by Watermark. We partner with the Museum to offer engaging STEM programs to students taking a Destination Education field trip or summer camp tour. The educational partnership began with offering Chesapeake 101, a field trip package for students that includes hands on and team building activities at the Museum followed by a narrated 40-minute Annapolis Harbor and Naval Academy Cruise on Harbor Queen. When we saw the popularity of the Chesapeake 101 program, we worked with the Museum to develop a second STEM experience, the affectionately named Critter Cruise. On a Critter Cruise, we bring the Museum onboard Harbor Queen! A team from the Museum brings critters and exhibits about their ecosystems on board Queen for an educational cruise around Annapolis that gives students a chance to touch critters and see them up close and personal. What kinds of critters you may ask? Blue crabs, eels and the ever important oyster make an appearance.

Speaking of everyone's favorite bivalve, the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park has an innovative Oyster Education Program, piloted for 6th grade students in Anne Arundel County. Using the oyster as an integrating context to explore human interaction with the environment including policy, economics, biology and history, this year-long environmental literacy project educates students about the culture and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. The Museum coordinates this program in partnership with Anne Arundel County Public Schools which fully supports Maryland's new Environmental Literacy Initiative. A crucial part of the program includes dropping oysters into the Bay. Harbor Queen is the proud vessel that gets to carry these students on their oyster endeavors. From Harbor Queen, students drop the oysters into their new home, the Chesapeake Bay, where they'll filter our local waterways.

The Museum & Park has approximately 150 volunteers who donate more than 6,000 hours of their time annually. Among those volunteers you'll find a few Watermark employees! Lastly, just for fun...the Annapolis Maritime Museum also happens to be one of the Annapolis Water Taxi's popular stops!

Learn more about the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park on their website.

Photos from a Critter Cruise.