Skip navigation

Messages in Bottles Wash Ashore at Nauticus!

New exhibit features over 50 voices from the past.

Norfolk, Va. (January 18, 2022) – Have you ever found a message in a bottle and wondered where it came from? Questioned its meaning and wondered what happened to the sender? The Message in a Bottle exhibition at Nauticus unearths the personal voices of everyday Americans, discovered while cleaning up the country’s rivers.

Uncovered by 2013 CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke and his nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters, Message in a Bottle rediscovers lost history. For over 25 years, Pregracke’s cleanup campaigns along the Mississippi and other U.S. rivers have amounted to over thousands of bottles. Message in Bottle displays over 50 notes, from love letters to photos to practical jokes, making it a unique collection of raw, human emotion. 

“For centuries, people around the globe have been using messages in bottles as a form of communication. I am excited for Nauticus and the people of Norfolk to have the opportunity to see and read first-hand authentic messages in bottles that I, my staff, and dozens of volunteers have found through our river cleanups across the United States over the last 25 years,” Pregracke said. “Some are funny, some are spiritual, and others mysterious…but each showcase genuine thought and emotion.”

On January 29, Nauticus members are invited to get an exclusive first look at Message in a Bottle! Members can sign up here.

“This exhibit is compelling and altogether appropriate for a community built along the water’s edge,” said Nauticus executive director, Stephen Kirkland. “We’re excited and proud to showcase this amazing collection.”

Message in a Bottle will open on January 29, 2022, at Nauticus with special programming and share its secrets through April 24, 2022. Come explore over 50 bottled mysteries uncovered while cleaning up the country’s rivers!

Plan Your Visit
Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Nauticus
Message in a Bottle and additional exhibits are supported by 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