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Nauticus to Honor Norfolk Native, William Roscoe Davis, In Celebration of Black History Month 

Esteemed Speakers from local HBCU’s featured in Free “EdTalk” Lecture Series

Norfolk, Va. (February 13, 2024) – In celebration of Black History Month, Nauticus invites the community to join them on February 22 at 6PM as they kick off their free “EdTalk” lecture series titled “Beacon of History: Illuminating the Past, Igniting the Future”.

The event will feature esteemed speakers, Dr. William Wiggins (Hampton University) and Dr. Colita Fairfax (Norfolk State University), who will explore the remarkable journey of William Roscoe Davis, born a slave in Norfolk, who escaped to Fort Monroe during the Civil War and became a pivotal figure as the head lighthouse keeper at Old Point Comfort.

Dr. Wiggins and Dr. Fairfax will discuss the little-told narrative of Davis as “contraband” and how his resilience and contributions illuminate a significant chapter in African American history. The speakers will share their efforts to locate Davis’s final resting place, shedding light on the importance of preserving African American cemeteries and honoring the legacies of those who paved the way.

This event is free and open to the public, space is limited, and reservations are required. Reserve your seat here.

About the Speakers 
Dr. William Wiggins is a historian and scholar who taught at University of Connecticut, St. Olaf and Allegheny Colleges, Hampton University and Columbia University where he also served as an Assistant Dean. Dr. Colita Fairfax is a Professor, Honors College Senior Faculty Fellow, and an inaugural faculty scholar in the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University.

About Nauticus  
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Nauticus Connects Students to Maritime Jobs with New Program

More than 1,500 students participate in first-of-its-kind STEM to STERN initiative.

Norfolk, Va.— Title 1 schools in Norfolk and Hampton will be among the first to participate in Nauticus’ newly-created program that introduces young students to the vast number of jobs and careers associated with the region’s maritime community.  The first-of-its-kind STEM to STERN Careers Program aligns with Nauticus’ transformational $21.5 million redesign project (“Reimagine Nauticus”).  After participating in educator-led classroom sessions, students will explore Nauticus’ newly designed galleries where they’ll practice welding a ship’s hull, discover diverse careers, and gain a better understanding of the region’s maritime industry.  Earlier this month, the Virginia Maritime Association cited a new study that indicates one in five jobs in Virginia, nearly 730,000 in total, are linked to the maritime community.     

Made possible through grant awards totaling more than $50,000 from the COVA STEM Ecosystem and Howmet Aerospace Foundation, more than 1,500 fourth graders will be first to experience this free instructor-led education series.

“We’re a maritime discovery center committed to introducing local students to meaningful, well-paying jobs along this waterfront,” said Nauticus Director of Education & Community Engagement, Nathan Sandel.  “The STEM to STERN Careers Program eliminates so many perceived obstacles.  We provide the education, we provide the transportation, and we provide the inspiration.”  

Southside STEM Academy, Compass Academy at Ruffner, Lake Taylor School, and Crossroads School are among the first schools to participate in the program throughout the 2024-2025 school year.

About Nauticus
The STEM to STERN Careers program and other initiatives are made possible through the Nauticus Foundation.  The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

About Reimagine Nauticus
To learn more about the Reimagine Nauticus campaign or to see current updates about the project, please visit https://nauticus.org/reimagine-nauticus/

First-Ever Community Night at WinterFest on the Wisconsin

60% Admission Reduction Coincides with Grand Illumination Parade.

Norfolk, Va. (Nov. 14, 2023) — Hampton Roads’ newest holiday tradition, WinterFest on the Wisconsin, is inviting the 757 to come celebrate this Saturday, November 18th, with a special $7.57 admission price.  The community-focused initiative is timed to coincide with Downtown Norfolk’s longtime holiday spectacular, the Grand Illumination Parade, and represents a 60% savings for visitors.  

“We’ve deeply discounted these tickets on a premium Saturday night as a way to say, ‘thank you’ to a community that supports us all year long,” said Nauticus executive director, Stephen Kirkland.  “With thousands of visitors downtown for the parade, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to open our doors as widely as possible.” 

This $7.57 admission offer applies to adults and children and is valid only for Saturday, November 18th. Tickets purchased for November 18th can not be exchanged to a different night or refunded due to the difference in price. No other admission discounts can be combined with this promotional rate.

Can’t make it this Saturday? WinterFest’s general admission and member tickets are on sale until January 1. Book your night to discover your holiday spirit exploring this dazzling, waterfront illumination festival featuring more than one million lights.  

Plan Your Visit 

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 10, 2023, to January 1, 2024, and is open on select nights throughout the holiday season. Pricing: $18.50 adult, $14.50 child general admission. Nauticus members receive a discounted rate of $5 off. 

About Nauticus 

Support for WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and experiential learning opportunities for students, families, and visitors. 

For more information, visit www.winterfestonthewisconsin.com or www.nauticus.org  

Nauticus’ WinterFest Features New Experiences, Entertainment, Illuminations

Battleship-Focused Holiday Festival Opens Veteran’s Day Weekend

Norfolk, Va. (Nov. 9, 2023) — New experiences await visitors this season as Nauticus reimagines its popular holiday festival, WinterFest on the Wisconsin.  Now in its fourth year, WinterFest has become a tradition for families throughout the Mid-Atlantic; last season more than 65,000 guests enjoyed the waterfront experience.  Appropriately, this season the event aboard the Battleship Wisconsin and across the Nauticus campus opens on Friday, November 10th in honor of Veteran’s Day weekend.

This holiday, WinterFest visitors can explore more than twice the below deck areas aboard the Battleship Wisconsin and for the first time ever, the Captain’s Cabin and Admiral’s Cabin are open for self-guided tours.  Guests will also enjoy all-new live entertainment, including a juggling show, magic show, and an elaborate puppet version of A Christmas Carol.  The waterfront journey begins inside the Mistletoe Marina, featuring an all-new lighted bridge experience, snowfall every hour, and a trip around the world with an all-new walking trail entitled NATO’s Passport to the Holidays.  Other additions include a s’mores station and a curated craft bar experience.  Aboard the battleship, Santa himself will light the region’s tallest floating Christmas tree.  

“We’ve been planning new concepts for this year’s WinterFest since January,” said Nauticus’ executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “Proceeds directly support the battleship and so this season is particularly important as we prepare to celebrate the ship’s eightieth birthday in April.”  

WinterFest on the Wisconsin kicks off on Friday, November 10th at 6:30PM. For the entire month of November, to celebrate the Hampton Roads military community, Nauticus is proud to present active-duty service members, veterans, and their families with $4 off WinterFest tickets. Military Appreciation tickets must be purchased online, and service members must provide a valid ID upon check-in. 

WinterFest general admission and member tickets are now on sale. Proceeds from WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly provide support to the Battleship Wisconsin through the Nauticus Foundation. Learn more at www.nauticus.org/support

Plan Your Visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 10, 2023, to January 1, 2024, on select nights. General admission pricing is $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children. Nauticus members receive the largest discount of $5 off tickets. Not a member? Join today.

WinterFest on the Wisconsin would not be possible without the support of its generous sponsors: TowneBank, The Perry Family Foundation, Centura College, Tidewater Tech, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Southern Kia Greenbrier, IPConfigure, Seaward Marine Services, MHI, The Taylor Foundation, Virginia Maritime Association, Hampton Roads Shipping Association, Mr. & Mrs. Howard Webb, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Festevents, Chesbay Distributing, Media Partner: WAVY TV 10, Fox 43, and Holiday Music Partner: 2WD 101.3 / Audacy.  

About Nauticus

Support for WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and experiential learning opportunities for students, families, and visitors.

For more information, visit www.winterfestonthewisconsin.com or www.nauticus.org

WinterFest Premieres Tree Forest Display Built by Local Students

Nauticus teams with Centura College, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and Tidewater Tech for new winterscape design.

Norfolk, Va. (October 25, 2023) — A forest of beautiful, snow-covered trees will enchant guests throughout the holiday season at Nauticus’ Winterfest on the Wisconsin.  The display features dozens of hand-crafted tree silhouettes built by students at Centura College Norfolk and Tidewater Tech.  The trees range in sizes with many towering overhead at nearly ten feet tall.   

“Each year, WinterFest on the Wisconsin provides a showcase for the craftsmanship and artistry of our talented students,” said Director of Outreach & Development for Centura College, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and Tidewater Tech, Ben Clark. “Creating an artistically-designed tree forest has been our most ambitious and exciting project yet.”

WinterFest on the Wisconsin has quickly become a Hampton Roads holiday tradition and attracts guests from throughout the mid-Atlantic.  This season, the six-week light extravaganza features all new entertainment, illuminations, and experiences.  WinterFest on the Wisconsin opens on Veterans Day weekend and throughout the entire month of November, active-duty military, veteran service members, and their families receive $4 off their ticket purchase thanks to the generous support of Centura College, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM), and Tidewater Tech 

Military Appreciation tickets must be purchased online and service members must show valid ID upon check-in. This special discount is only available while supplies last, tickets can be reserved here.  

Support for WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and offer experiential learning opportunities for students, families and visitors.

Plan Your Visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 10 through January 1 on select nights throughout the holiday season. General admission pricing is $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children. Nauticus members receive a discounted rate of $5 off.  Visit www.winterfestonthewisconsin.com

For more information, visit www.winterfestonthewisconsin.com or www.nauticus.org

winterfest center college silhouettes
winterfest center college silhouettes
winterfest center college silhouettes
winterfest center college silhouettes

Nauticus After Dark: Mystery at the Museum

Experience this Mysterious Evening with Nauticus at this 21+ Only Event

Norfolk, Va. – Grab your friends and help solve the mystery at Nauticus on Thursday, October 19th. With a special after-hours event for adults 21+ only, Nauticus After Dark: Mystery at the Museum will feature Push Comedy Theater as they host their Unusual Suspects: An Improvised Murder Mystery show! 

Put on your detective hats and join Nauticus for this exciting and hilarious show while also exploring the interactive exhibits, sipping on the specialty cocktail, Murder at Midnight, by Bad n’ Boozy and enjoying tasty tacos by Codex. Purchase tickets here

Event Timeline:

VIP – Doors Open: 5:30 PM
General Admission – Doors Open: 6:00 PM
Unusual Suspects Show: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Tickets:

General Admission – $15
VIP Admission – $30 (Includes two drink tickets + expedited entry. Doors open at 5:30 PM for VIP)

Members – General Admission: $5
Members – VIP: $20

Purchase tickets here to become a detective for a night! (All ticket holders must be 21+. Valid ID will be checked upon arrival)

Schooner Virginia Brings First Place Trophy Home to Norfolk

Nauticus Foundation Celebrates Schooner Virginia’s Victory in 34th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

Norfolk, VA — Nauticus is delighted to announce that the Schooner Virginia had a triumphant return to Norfolk this past weekend earning first place in the AA-Class of the 34th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (GCBSR). Founded over three decades ago, the GCBSR is focused on promoting awareness of the Chesapeake Bay’s maritime heritage and encouraging preservation of its resources—topics at the forefront of the Nauticus Foundation mission. 

After a busy summer season conducting educational day sails in Hampton Roads with visits to Cape Charles and Yorktown, Schooner Virginia spent most of September hauled out in Mystic, Connecticut for routine maintenance. She returned to the Chesapeake Bay last week to serve as Nauticus’ representative in this year’s GCBSR. 

This year, the Schooner Virginia was led by Captain Michael Fiorentino and represented by a crew of 22—comprised of 14 volunteers and eight paid mariners. Sarah Linden-Brooks, Director of Sail Nauticus said, “Virginia’s first-place win was made possible by the effort of our volunteers especially through the busy season. Their passion for sharing sailing with our community—be it an education day-sail or a race down the Chesapeake Bay—is what allows our program to succeed. It’s a labor of love, and we’re grateful for their commitment.” 

Virginia welcomed students aboard the vessel in Baltimore, Maryland last Wednesday, to engage in experiential educational programs sponsored by the race committee. Thursday morning, Virginia, and the three other vessels in her class, departed Baltimore for the start line off Annapolis, Maryland. The race had incredibly light wind which added to the challenge and complexity of this year’s event.

Virginia is part of a longstanding, friendly rivalry with the Pride of Baltimore II. Captain Fiorentino notes, “The close competition between the Virginiaand the Pride of Baltimore II has drawn attention to the broader goals of the GCBSR over the years. This rivalry adds an extra layer of excitement to the GCBSR. It’s a testament to the dedication and passion of both crews and elevates the overall experience of the race—igniting passions for our region’s maritime heritage.”

The Nauticus Foundation has been the steward of Schooner Virginia since 2016. Since coming to the Nauticus FoundationSchooner Virginia has taken the top prize at the GCBSR twice, including earning the all-time course speed-record in 2018. Virginia will be on display as part of SailFest, the annual fundraiser to support Sail Nauticus, on Saturday, October 21.

About Sail Nauticus 

Support for Sail Nauticus directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides a life-changing experience for underserved youth in our local community. Our mission is to inspire, instruct, and impact Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. To learn more visit www.nauticus.org/sail-nauticus.

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Nauticus Foundation Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

Amy Owens brings more than two decades of experience in financial leadership.

Norfolk, Va. (October 10, 2023) – After a nationwide search, Nauticus is delighted to announce the hiring of Amy Owens, Chief Financial Officer. In her new role, Owens will help lead the Nauticus Foundation as progress continues on its “Reimagine Nauticus” project; a comprehensive redesign of all its exhibit gallery spaces.    

Owens is known for being well versed in spearheading financial management tasks that include budget development, competitive analysis, forecasting, reporting, and asset management. She is a resourceful business leader that is actively involved in assessing an organization’s needs, sharing best practices, shaping a long-range vision and strategy, and aligning the people to create the long-term value needed for success.  

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Nauticus team utilizing my skill set to support the Nauticus vision,” said Nauticus CFO, Amy Owens. “Throughout my career, I have truly valued partnering with nonprofit organizations that seek to offer educational experiences, programs, and a unique foundational history that will impact minds of young leaders and community members in a way that will support the growth of the local community. Nauticus excitingly leads the way in all these areas.”

Owens’ 20+ year long, impressive career began in internal audit at the J.C. Penney Company. From there she held positions at the H.J. Heinz Company (Pittsburgh) throughout the supply chain (Finance, Purchasing, Demand Planning and Continuous Improvement) where she was trained in Six Sigma and led a continuous improvement team. Throughout her career, she has held positions at Starbucks Corporate Office (Seattle), NY Times, and most recently in private Non-Profit Schools as the Director of Finance & Non-Academic Business Operations locally in Norfolk, Va. 

Owens has started her new position at Nauticus and has already begun leading the organization to further success.

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, Virginia, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Region’s Most Unique Waterfront Event Returns

Only event hosted on Norfolk’s cruise ship pier features sailboats, local brews, live music, and more. 

Norfolk, Va. (September 13, 2023) – On September 23, one day prior to the 4,000-passenger cruise ship Carnival Magic returning to Norfolk from the Bahamas, Nauticus’ downtown cruise ship pier will be transformed into the ultimate waterfront event space.  The second annual SailFest returns with a community regatta and pier party.  The fundraiser supports Sail Nauticus, a sailing program for our local, underserved youth. 

The family-friendly waterfront event features a driving range (with biodegradable golf balls), the live music of Schooner or Later, sailboat racing, and local vendors.  Ticket holders will enjoy the best creations of local favorites, Waters Edge Winery, Elation Brewing, and Neptune’s Fury Coffee Co.   

“This is a unique, fun celebration for our community,” said Director of Development & Marketing, Rehn West.  “But our guests definitely know they’re supporting a program that makes a real difference in the lives of Hampton Roads students.” 

Community members interested in attending SailFest should visit www.nauticus.org to purchase tickets. The event features adult and child tickets to include drinks and food from local food trucks, Hades Wood Fired Pizza and Hangry’s. But hurry, ticket prices increase on September 18.  

SailFest would not be possible without the generous support of Presenting Sponsor, Bay Power Solutions and community sponsors, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, Xylem Tree Experts, Southern Bank, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Williams Mullen, Gentry Locke, Virginia Pilot Association, Hampton Roads Shipping Association and Virginia Maritime Association.   

About Nauticus  
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

Ship, Shipmate, Self

By Captain Michael Fiorentino

Welcome to the Virtual Great Chesapeake Schooner Race. As you follow along with us virtually, we also wanted to share with you what’s it like to be on a schooner at sea. 

You might wonder, how big a crew is required to sail the ship?  The answer varies depending on what we are doing.  As few as 6 can move the ship around, but mostly under motor and certainly not with all sails up.  That requires more…the big ones are heavy and supported by a solid wood gaff that is also heavy.  There are bunks for 26 crew members but are seldom all filled.  A crew of 15 to 20 can sail the ship under all conditions…as long as they work together.

The most important thing is that the crew function as one… that’s where the expression “ship, shipmates, self” originated. While underway, our priority is the safety and integrity of the ship, then we should consider the needs of our shipmates, and lastly our personal wants and wishes.

Shipmates need to help each other out and when hard work is required, like raising the mainsail, all must pull as one.  That is where sea shanties came from.  The shanties provided the rhythm to the crew to haul or heave together working in unison to achieve a momentous task.

For the schooner race, during which we might have all 8 sails, more than 6500 square feet, flying we must all work together for sail raising and sail evolutions—trimming sails, tacking, jibing, etc.

For the virtual GCBSR, we also all need to pull together—every bit helps. $25, 50, $500 will all help us reach out goal. So, please, help our ship by being a generous shipmate.