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About the Morro Bay Maritime Museum

We preserve and interpret the maritime history of California, and beyond.
About UsOur Mission

Board of Trustees

View the Board of Trustees working hard to tell the story of Morro Bay’s Maritime Heritage.

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Calendar of Events

Visit our calendar to discover what fun maritime events we have coming up.

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Mission Statement

The Morro Bay Maritime Museum’s mission is to provide an easily accessible educational venue for maritime history, science and technology.

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

- Wind in the Willows

ABOUT US

 

The Morro Bay Maritime Museum was the brainchild of the late Brent Roberts. In the early 1990’s Brent assembled a group of like-minded folks who shared an interest in preserving maritime history. After a few meetings this group decided to call themselves the Central Coast Maritime Museum Association (CCMMA) and in 1995 the group incorporated itself as a a public-benefit, non-profit entity. In the ensuing years the CCMMA board of trustees worked with City leaders and the business community to explore viable locations on the Morro Bay waterfront for a Maritime Museum.  Meanwhile, while this planning was occurring, CCMMA sponsored and participated in other activities such as more than 20 Morro Bay Harbor Festivals as the host of the Maritime Heritage Pavilion.

CCMMA also initiated and sponsored the visits of various tall ships to Morro Bay including the Hawaiian Chieftain, Lady Washington, the replica of the caravel La Nina, and the Australian HMS Endeavour replica. More recently, in 2016, CCMMA partnered with the Maritime Museum of San Diego and sponsored a two week visit of the San Salvador as part of the vessel’s inaugural Pacific Heritage Tour.

The San Salvador galleon, a replica of Juan Cabrillo’s flagship of 1542, was the culmination of years of planning and millions of dollars and Morro Bay was honored by being among the first host ports for this tour. The San Salvador visit also precipitated a small group of local individuals to take a financial leap of faith by making a capital investment of $1542 for the Morro Bay Maritime Museum project. This group became known as the 1542 Navigator’s Circle. Their investment, combined with ticket and merchandise sales, made the October 2016 San Salvador  visit so successful that the project was sufficiently funded to move forward into its current phase.

 

Over the years CCMMA has also partnered with various groups such as the NOAA and the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary in initiating the first manned dive on the SS Montebello, a 440’ long Union Oil tanker torpedoed and sunk near our shores in the opening days of WWII.

CCMMA also worked with California Sea Grant to fund and organize the Central Coast Maritime Oral History Program, capturing and memorializing an important primary source of history and personal stories of individuals connected with local maritime industries.

CCMMA worked with Caltrans, Chevron and the firm Associated Pacific to develop the anchor display at Tidelands Park on the Embarcadero.

CCMMA is also coordinating with the local Salinan Indian tribe to develop outdoor and indoor interpretive elements that will memorialize California’s first watermen.

CCMMA, now doing business as the Morro Bay Maritime Museum, has established itself as a positive force in contributing to Morro Bay’s economy and maritime village sense-of-place. We are in construction of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum building and park and plans are underway to have regular, scheduled hours of operation by late 2018. At this time outdoor, static displays are available for public viewing. We invite you to come see the Historic tug Alma and learn about an event that brought WWII to our shores.  Or walk around the DSRV Avalon, one of only two cold-war era rescue submarines developed by the US Navy and featured in the 1990 movie Hunt for Red October. You can also see a USCG Surf Rescue Boat that was stationed at the small boat station and serviced the sometimes impassable Morro Bay harbor entrance.  But wherever your interest lay, please come and visit Morro Bay and stay awhile. And while you’re here, visit the Morro Bay Maritime Museum at 1210 Embarcadero across from the south T-Pier, on the Morro Bay waterfront. Stop by and say hello and soak up history at the edge of the continent!

 

Museum Trustees

JUDY ANN CROSS

Judy Ann Cross has been active with CCMMA since 1998 and is currently chair of the membership committee and member of the finance, merchandise and volunteer committees. Her involvement in maritime history began the day the snow brig Pilgrim first sailed into Dana Point, CA. Judy Ann immediately joined the crew, learned to tar rigging, work square sails, and slide down a back stay, until eventually she manned the helm on the Pilgrim’s haul-out voyage to Los Angeles Harbor- the same voyage in which the Pilgrim played the HMS Beagle for a documentary film. Judy Ann has a Liberal Arts Degree from Santa Rosa Junior College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology with a minor in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

TERRY CROSS

Trustee, Terry Cross, began loving the sea as a youth trolling for salmon on Monterey Bay, and whether fishing, spear fishing, free diving, scuba diving, body surfing, or board surfing, he has been  close to the water ever since. He worked two years as a commercial abalone diver and put himself through nursing school teaching basic scuba as a NAUI/PADI instructor. His involvement in maritime history began on the maintenance crew of the Brig Pilgrim of Dana Point, and involvement in the earliest days of the topsail-schooner Californian. He has been active with the Morro Bay Maritime Museum for twenty years, is a published author of the action/sea mystery, Fisher of Men, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, and his hobbies are writing music and bird watching.

PENDLETON HARRIS

Pendleton Harris has been a volunteer for the Central Coast Maritime Museum Association for many years, participating in open house days for the vessels as well as the Morro Bay Harbor Festival events. She became active again as a member of the Board of Directors a few years ago.

Her career has spanned 46 years working with National and State Parks, primarily in researching, planning and conducting interpretive programs for cultural and natural resources. Pendleton has also worked in the development and management of volunteer and living history programs. She was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association.

SHAWN CURTIS HARRIS

Shawn Harris has been a Board Member of CCMMA since 1998 and is the current Vice President for Museum Operations. Shawn grew up in Yosemite Valley and worked for the National Park Service as a Ranger at various sites, including Yosemite National Park, George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Colonial National Historical Park, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Wright Brothers National Memorial.

He is currently senior Guide at Hearst Castle, where he has also been involved with developing Living History Programs and other special events. As part of an inter-agency loan between California State Parks and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, he was assigned as an Interpretive Specialist at the Piedras Blancas Light Station.  He was responsible for historical research and developing the Lighthouse Interpretive Plan, staff development and site development of the historic light station.  Shawn’s most recent inter-agency project was the research for the California Coastal Whaling Exhibit at the Coastal Discovery Center at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach.

Shawn is an avid researcher and writer, having published articles in several magazines and newspapers such as Sierra, Military History Magazine, America’s Civil War and the San Francisco Examiner. Shawn earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming, and his Master of Arts degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

JANE HEATH

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Jane Heath joined the Board of the Central Coast Maritime Museum Association in 2016.  An attorney at law with a business, real property and employment practice in Morro Bay, Jane is pleased to be associated with the Maritime Museum, as an opportunity to preserve marine history and culture and an exciting addition to the community.  Born and raised in San Francisco, Jane has never lived more than a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.  She and her spouse, Walter, have resided on the Central Coast since 1990 and have made their home in Morro Bay since 2000.  She currently serves as Vice President of Development for the organization and chairs the Governance Committee.

WALTER HEATH

Walter Heath’s interest in maritime history stems from his family’s connection with the sea and a desire to connect others with our shared maritime heritage, going back to the Age of Exploration and European migration to America.  Walter developed fermentation and protein-purification processes for industry and enjoys facilitating the process of discovery with others. Well-designed museums facilitate the process of discovery, too, and Walter looks forward to seeing the Maritime Museum of Morro Bay capture the independent spirit of the people who settled and thrived in this region.  He currently chairs the Volunteer Committee.

JACK HUNTER

Jack Hunter has a 40 year career as a specialist in maritime archaeology, the last 25 as a District Archaeologist for the California Department of Transportation. He has worked in the Caribbean, Latin America and the South Pacific. He has been a member of the CCMMA Board of Trustees for the past 24 years. He serves on the Finance and Acquisitions Committees.

KEITH KELSEY

Keith Kelsey has been a board member since the inception of the CCMMA.  He is a native of Avila Beach and the grandson of Antone Sylvester.  Keith is part of a well-known family that pioneered many of the maritime industries of the central coast, including commercial fishing, abalone diving, and the Antone Sylvester Tug Service.  Keith worked for 30+  years in the family tug service in a multitude of positions and later becoming the vice president of the company.  He worked as vp for Antone Sylvester Tug Service in both central and southern California until the final days of the oil tanker moorage in Estero Bay.  One of Keith’s most notable accomplishments with the Tug Service was on March 1, 1983 when the largest storm hit the central coast, he braved the 20 foot swells on the tug Paul Revere and rescued 3 men off the collapsing Unocal pier.  The United States Coast Guard awarded him with the ‘Meritorious Public Service Award’ for his successful efforts.  Keith has also served as the fire chief of Avila Beach from 1984 to 1992 and a Port San Luis Harbor Commissioner from 1986 to 1990.  Today Keith works as the General Manager in the family business, Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards located in San Luis Obispo.

BOB McCAY

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Bob McCay has been a trustee since 2011 and is the current Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.  Bob was born and raised in Morro Bay, and it has always been his home.  He has been happily married to Vicky for 37 years, they raised their son here, and they plan to live out their lives in Morro Bay.  Obviously, he likes the place.  Bob has spent his life here surfing, sailing, kayaking and generally spending time in or near the ocean and hiking the hills. After four years at sea in naval service, Bob attended Cal poly and graduated with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture.  He switched to tax accounting in 1992 and has never looked back. Since then he has gained much experience in all aspects of taxation, and with the related analytical accounting required for the hundreds of business and nonprofit tax returns he has prepared over the years.  For several years in the early 90’s Bob was chair of the Morro Bay Streets and Trees Committee, and he is grateful to be once again giving back to this community as a trustee of CCMMA.

LARRY NEWLAND

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Larry Newland Larry is the president of the Board of Trustees and has been active in the organization since 1993. A childhood in Morro Bay allowed for fishing, exploring the waterfront and hanging out on the docks. Since getting his introduction to sailing in the 1960’s El Toro fleet at the Yacht Club, he has maintained his relationship with all things boats. Exposure to family boat building projects has come in handy as an adult while rebuilding a 25’ trimaran and working on the museum’s fleet of small craft. Sailing has afforded opportunities to cruise coastal California, the Channel Islands, Mexico, and crew a Trans Pac crossing to Hawaii. Larry and his family have also bareboat chartered in California, the San Juan Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Professionally, he began a career working for the State of California at Hearst Castle while attending college and after service in the US Army returned and transferred to another state agency. Larry has a B.A in history, is an accomplished rock climber, a scuba diver and instrument-rated airplane pilot. He and his wife Janet have one daughter, Allegra, and are now “empty nesters” in San Luis Obispo.

JUDY SALAMACHA

Judy Salamacha didn’t know port from starboard but one interview with CCMMA President Larry Newland in 2015 convinced her Morro Bay would soon have a maritime museum and cultural history center and she wanted to help make it happen. A contributing writer for Simply Clear Marketing & Media, her column “Then & Now” demonstrates her interest in Central Coast history. Her book Colonel Baker’s Field: An American Pioneer Story chronicles the life of Colonel Thomas Baker, the namesake of her home town, Bakersfield, CA. She’s been a member of the board since early 2016 and longtime Morro Bay advocate of tourism and economic development.

CHARLIE YATES

Trustee, Charlie Yates, a 22+ year resident of the Central Coast has been a boater, fisherman and sailor all his life. Growing up on the coast in San Diego, boating, surfing and fishing were and still are a passion. As a Sea Scout became a volunteer at the San Diego Maritime Museum, working on the Star of India, and the Berkley, falling in love with the tall ships and deep history therein. One of the founders and proud past Vice President of the Avila Beach Sea Life Center, now operated by the Central Coast Aquarium, he continued his love of the ocean and sea life. Charlie and his son Chuck own “The Little Lady” and continue to fish, cruise and enjoy. Sharing and educating all on the significance of our local Maritime history is an ongoing joy for Charlie.

Contact the Museum

Morro Bay Maritime Museum
1210 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(888) 502-5115

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