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Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum Inc.

 PO Box 277, 66 Main Street
 Essex, MA 01929
[P] (978) 768-7541
[F] --
Marcia Hubbard
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 51-0185873

LAST UPDATED: 01/10/2019
Organization DBA Essex Shipbuilding Museum
Former Names Essex Historical Society (1976)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes



Mission StatementMORE »

The Mission of the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum is to provide a center for education, preservation, and study, of traditional Essex shipbuilding and the Community that supported it. We value the skills, creativity, learning abilities, and connectedness to their  environment of the Essex Shipbuilders and we believe that building a clear understanding and appreciation of their unique craftsmanship serves as a valuable model for us today.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum is to provide a center for education, preservation, and study, of traditional Essex shipbuilding and the Community that supported it. We value the skills, creativity, learning abilities, and connectedness to their  environment of the Essex Shipbuilders and we believe that building a clear understanding and appreciation of their unique craftsmanship serves as a valuable model for us today.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014
Projected Income $135,000.00
Projected Expense $135,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Classes
  • Community Programs
  • Education Program
  • Interpretive Tours

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Mission of the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum is to provide a center for education, preservation, and study, of traditional Essex shipbuilding and the Community that supported it. We value the skills, creativity, learning abilities, and connectedness to their  environment of the Essex Shipbuilders and we believe that building a clear understanding and appreciation of their unique craftsmanship serves as a valuable model for us today.

Background Statement

The Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), nonprofit Massachusetts corporation. The Essex Historical Society began in 1937, committed to collecting and preserving the unique history of the Village of Essex. The Shipbuilding Museum was established in 1976 as part of the town's observation of the American Revolutionary Bicentennial.  At that time the two entities were merged into the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum althouth the Museum often goes by the name Essex Shipbuilding Museum. The Museum maintains one of the best maritime collections in the region in addition to providing Essex- and marine-related tours, student educational opportunities, evening programs, and boatbuilding courses.

Located in the heart of Essex, Massachusetts, the Museum is adjacent to an acre of land set aside in 1668 “for a yard to build vessels and employing workmen for this end” and it is integral to the town's historic character, scenic vista and central river basin. Essex-built schooners were famous world-wide as sound and able fishing vessels.

The Collection of the Museum includes antique tools, photographs, documents, exhibits portraying both the shipbuilding industry and life in the quintessential small American town of Essex. It also includes the schooner Evelina M. Goulart, one of the last seven surviving historic Essex-built fishing schooners. The Lewis H. Story, flagship of the Museum, was built on the site in 1998 and is often seen at the Museum or at nautical events throughout New England.

The Museum owns the two acre, formerly A.D. Story, shipyard. Major buildings on it include the Orientation Center and offices at 66 Main as well as the Waterline Center function hall and workshops. Other structures include the steam, rigging, and paint sheds. While a complete description of the condition of the facilities and their required maintenance/updates takes pages to present, suffice it to say that in general these are old structures and there are many major improvements required.                                                    

The Museum’s major vessels consist of our flagship the Lewis H. Story and the Evelina M. Goulart. The Story was constructed in 1990 and receives yearly maintenance. She is in good condition. The Goulart is one of only seven remaining large Essex-built vessels. She is out of the water and sheltered by a protective shed with a goal of maintaining her in a “state of arrested decay”.

Impact Statement

Accomplishments in 2014

We had a strong year with school, camp, and adult groups continuing to visit the Museum in addition to our daily walk-in visitors. New school groups visited and Road Scholars increased their visits from two to four. Their participants voted the Museum as their favorite Cape Ann attraction!

Boatbuilding continued via a Bruce Anderson Foundation Grant boatbuilding. Four Manchester Essex Regional High School students participated.

Imai Keller Moore Architects finished their initial concepts and plans for the replacement of the Water Line Center, our major building. Supported in part by a Mass Cultural Council grant.

Stabilization efforts for the historic schooner Evelina M Goulart that is one of the seven historic Essex vessels still in existence continued with shoring up of the bow and stern. Accepted a plan for her long-term sustainability that is consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Preservation of Historic Vessels.

Considering the acquisition of a small building that was used to make shoes. These small buildings of about 100 square feet were important in early New England communities and had a number of business uses.

Began a new Strategic Plan covering from 2015 to a yet to be determined date.

Goals for 2015

Finalize plans and begin to seriously pursue funding for replacement of our Water Line Center. The new facility will have safe, modern, and accessible meeting, shop, exhibit, and education space. It will be both a Museum and a community asset.

Secure additional funding for better interpretative signage and appropriate structures to guide visitors around the shipyard.

Continued research into and development of exhibits and/or programs highlighting the contributions of Women in Essex history.

Pursue Community Preservation Act funding for major exterior restoration of the old school house that we lease from the town of Essex for our collection and some exhibits.


Needs Statement

1. Better signage and appropriate structures to guide visitors in the shipyard, thereby improving their visiting experience.

2. Improved accessibility, comfort, and restrooms for visitors. This is particularly important for school and elder groups.

3. Continued progress on plans and funding for the Water Line Center upgrade.

4. Better storage arrangements, including humidity and temperature control, for significant parts of the collection.

5. New computers and software for improved Member and Donor tracking and communications.

CEO Statement

No CEO/Executive Director. See Statement from Board President.

Board Chair Statement

Board Chair Statement  

The Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum is a small enterprise with a FY2014 budget of about $125,000. We own, mortgage free, the old A.D. Story shipyard. The property includes our office and orientation center, the Water Line Center that serves most of our indoor activities, and several support buildings. In addition, we lease an off-site, old school house for the collection and some exhibits. We have 4 part-time staff and a group of about 200 volunteers who contribute in many different ways. Our budget does not permit hiring an Executive Director, so the Chair fills that role too. Needless to say, managing the organization is quite a challenge.

While there are many challenges in the organization, the staff and volunteers are deeply committed to it, although they definitely have varying interests. Some value history, some shipbuilding, some the programs we offer, others education and the list goes on. Thus, attending to the needs of several interests can be quite a chore. While much of the challenge is simply in maintaining good communications, there are times where the Board and I have to face difficult resource allocation questions.

Overall, we are addressing our challenges by working together and thinking in terms of the Mission Statement given in our bylaws and how the decision will further the mission of preserving and interpreting American shipbuilding history in general and Essex history in particular.

I became involved in the organization due to my interest in virtually all things nautical. Over the years I have owned several boats and have been an avid cruiser. As I learned more of the history of shipbuilding in my neighboring town of Essex, the more intrigued I became with both the history of shipbuilding and the history of this unique, quintessentially American, town. However, by far my greatest satisfaction is seeing our young school visitors regularly emerge from their buses and enthusiastically learn some science, history, and shipbuilding skills.


Geographic Area Served


The Primary focus of the Musuem is the northern Essex County Communities of Essex, Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, and Manchester, but we have school groups, members, and visitors from throughout the county. In addition, groups and other visitors from throughout Massachusetts and, increasingly, from the entire country. We even have occasional international visitors.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Historical Societies & Historic Preservation
  2. Education - Primary & Elementary Schools
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)





From time to time the Museum offers classes on a variety of subjects. These have included kayak and other small vessel building, photography workshops, and wreath making.

Budget  $2.00
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success    Typically products of some sort emerge from the classes.
Program Long-Term Success  Classes are run to educate the public on topics related to Museum areas of interest.
Program Success Monitored By  Numbers of participants and students products and comments.
Examples of Program Success  Repeated requests for more classes

Community Programs

For a number of years the Museum has offered programs on a monthly basis on subjects of local and historical interest. Both shipbuilding and Essex history have been featured in these programs. A sampling of these programs over the last two years includes:

Changes in the Groundfisheries - Peter Prybot

Steam Coffin: Capt. Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier – John L. Busch

Grounded Container Ship Saved!: The Rescue of the APL Panama – Richard Fairbanks  

Frank Vining Smith – James Craig

Breed Birds of the North Shore – Jim Berry

Artists of the North Shore – Jim McAllister

North Shore Native Artifacts – John Ratti

Nathaniel Bowditch – George Brandenburg

Wanderbird’s Adventures – Rick and Karen Miles                             

Sailing off South Georgia Island – Dick Low

Death of an EmpireSalem, MA – Robert Booth

Essex Shipbuilding350 Years of Building – Lee Spence

Murder and Mayhem in Essex County – Robert Wilhelm

Growing Up in Essex County in the 1950s – Robert Benjamin

Budget  5%
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Better awareness of history and the environment.
Program Long-Term Success  Appreciation for Essex and area history as well as awareness of the wonderful environment around us.
Program Success Monitored By  Number of individuals attending programs. Requests for additional programs along the lines of particular existing ones.
Examples of Program Success  Our Community Programs have been going on for many years now. Depending on the subject, attendance may be from 20 to 100 with the average something like 40.

Education Program

The Museum is regularly visited by local students, as well as far away as New York and California, to share hand-on experiences in steam-bending, trunnel-making, simple machines, and boat design. Many have a chance to visit the School House Museum to explore our offerings there. In 2012 about 1100 students from 25 schools and camps visited the Museum.

Other Ed offerings include:

Youth boatbuilding where teens actually build small boats and learn a about tools, working together, and seamanship in the process.

"Fantastic Wood Sculptures” where elementary school students have a chance to work with wood scraps and tools to create sculptures of their own design.

 Scout field trips in which students learn about the historic Chebacco boat and build toy models.

"Tea and Legos" gathering for younger children and guardians 

 While most of the time schools visit us here at the museum, we are also able to visit schools with programs similar to our on-site program including steam bending.

Budget  20%
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success  We are seeing an steady level in group visits from year to year.
Program Long-Term Success 
Students who participate in our Education Programs are expected to leave with an appreciation of how things like ships are built and with some experience in hands-on activities - memories that will help with other activities in life in the future.
Program Success Monitored By  Numbers of schools/group and participants attending. Feedback from teachers and adult chaperones. Best measure of all is when they return the next year!
Examples of Program Success  Seeing a repeat rate of virtually all schools that attend. A typical comment is this one from one teacher who wrote:

"Our trip yesterday was amazing.  The group leaders far exceeded our expectations.  They were patient especially dealing with 43 third graders the last week of school.  Each station was filled with information and engaging.  I can't thank you enough for making this field trip such a success."

Interpretive Tours

During the spring through months that the Museum is open, two types of tours are offered to the off-the-street or group tour visitor:

Self-guided Tours

Visitors who elect this are given a brief orientation, offered a short movie, and then directed to the Shipyard grounds and buildings with a brochure containing a short description of significant shipbuilding techniques, ships, and historic locations. This offers the visitor flexibility in his or her schedule, but is very limited in the amount of detailed information that the visitor can acquire.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are also offered on a fixed schedule three times a day. The guide is with the visitor the entire time and provides much more information than can be acquired during the self-guided tour as well as answering visitors’ questions. In addition, the guided tour includes a visit to the exhibits and models in the School House annex that, due to lack of staff, are not included in the self-guided tour.

Budget  20%
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Increasing through the door visitors and increasing the number of visitors taking tours.
Program Long-Term Success  We are ultimately committed to telling a story of the small town of Essex that built more two masted sailing vessels than any town in the world. Vessels that were not only strong and able but beautiful and sleek. We want this story to be appreciated far and wide.
Program Success Monitored By  We count the number of visitors that come through the door for whatever purpose. Our financial records show the numbers taking guided and self-guided tours.
Examples of Program Success  In 2011 over 7000 visitors came through the door. We are now analyzing the numbers for 2012. With the newly formed Mass Cultural Council designated Essex River Cultural District, we plan to collect more comprehensive statistics to demonstrate the value of that designation to the Museum.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Programs are an important element of our serving and interacting with the Community at large. We have been successful with virtually all of them and look forward to continuing them as well as adding others. The challenge is to meet the many potential constituencies within our limited resources.


CEO/Executive Director Mr Lee Spence
CEO Term Start June 2012
CEO Email
CEO Experience
I am the Chair of the EHSSM Board and have been for the last two years. I have been a member of the Museum for perhaps 20 years. This is my 6th year on the Board. For the precious 2 years before becoming the Chair, I served as vice-Chair. Prior to serving on the Board I served on the Museum's Development Committee.
 Prior to being involved with the EHSSM, I have served in a number of civic and local government capacities including Manchester-by-the-Sea Selectman for 6 years, Manchester Finance Committee Member 9 years including 3 years as Chair, Manchester Harbor Boat Club Commodore, and Manchester Yacht Club Communications Officer.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Cynthia Schlaikjer June 2009 June 2012
Mr. Mark Lindsay June 2007 June 2009

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


No formal collaborations

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
State Registration No

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? N/A
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr Lee Spence
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Chair Term June 2012 - June 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr Harold Burnham Burnham Boat Building Exofficio
Mr James Diedrich Retired Voting
Mr Thomas Duff Towers and Watson --
Ms Karen Feder Community Volunteer Voting
Mr Richard Low Retired Voting
Mr Lee Spence MIT Lincoln Laboratory Voting
Ms. Jennifer Stephens Retired Voting
Mr Guyton Thorne Kaspersky Inc Voting
Ms. Sarah Wilwerth-Dyer Anthony Dodge Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 90%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Collection of Historic Items
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Education
  • Facilities
  • Investment

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014
Projected Income $135,000.00
Projected Expense $135,000.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $176,141 $123,623 $118,769
Total Expenses $138,128 $123,450 $120,607

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $600
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $600
Individual Contributions $113,374 $66,118 $58,611
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $37,172 $40,461 $39,819
Investment Income, Net of Losses $7,543 $3,744 $654
Membership Dues $9,637 $10,660 $15,569
Special Events $8,415 $2,640 $3,516
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $127,807 $102,874 $83,713
Administration Expense $7,398 $19,683 $36,714
Fundraising Expense $2,923 $893 $180
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.28 1.00 0.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses 93% 83% 69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 2% 1% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $862,401 $861,505 $878,193
Current Assets $54,799 $43,480 $49,233
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $35,982 $48,329
Current Liabilities $10,081 $11,216 $15,730
Total Net Assets $852,320 $814,307 $814,134

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $75,516.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 4.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 5.44 3.88 3.13

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 4% 6%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The figure given for the Endowment includes both Donor Restricted and Board Restricted funds. There are strict limitations as to how the earnings from these funds can be used and we adhere to those limitations as we best understand them. The rule is that each year 4% of the previous 5 year average balance is available to be spent in the current year.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


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