The Jacksonville Maritime Museum (JMM) tells the history of Jacksonville, Florida and the First Coast through its connection to the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. Their collection includes large scale models of ships from the Mayflower to present day vessels, as well as paintings, photographs and artifacts dating to 1562.

The JMM began in 1985 and is operated by the Jacksonville Maritime Museum Society, Inc., a non-profit, 501C(3) organization. Their goal is to provide a resource that demonstrates the local impact of maritime trade. The Jacksonville Landing allowed the museum to use unoccupied retail space to display their collection of large scale model ships for seven years, beginning in 1990. Society President Lockhart explained, "Every time they would get a new tenant, they would move us to another empty space." That situation occurred five times in seven years. In mid-November, 1997, the museum was given seven days to vacate in preparaton for a new tenant. "This time, they just ran out of empty space," commented Lockhart. Many exhibits were put into storage. Since 1994, their primary facility has been located in a 5,000 ft² enclosed pavilion on the South bank of the Jacksonville Riverwalk, near Friendship Fountain. Early in 2011, they relocated back to the Jacksonville Landing. The museum houses hundreds of artifacts and includes permanent exhibits on the USS Saratoga and Napoleon B. Broward’s Three Friends Tugboat. Popular past exhibits have included St. Johns Riverboats, Shipbuilding in Jacksonville and the RMS Titanic diorama. In 1998, the museum received two grants totalling $4,200 which paid for a computer project that created their website, provided an electronic link to other maritime museums and facilitated a monthly newsletter for the society. In 2011,the museum moved to the Jacksonville Landing.

Future home
A majority of the museum’s income is derived from society memberships and donations. In the last 20+ years, the museum has been the recipient of numerous documents and artifacts, which has caused a problem. The size of the museum’s collection greatly exceeds the space available in their current location. Ideally, the society would like to find a 13,000 ft² riverfront facility with docking space. To that end, the group has a fundraising goal of $1 million. As of January, 2007, they had raised $200,000 and were trying to obtain a parcel of state land that was used occasionally for parking.

Models on loan
Many large, scale models of ships are displayed at other locations, including the Jacksonville Port Authority, Jacksonville University, and at Naval Station Mayport. The biggest model owned by the museum is the USS Louisville. The miniature model is 17 feet in length and sits atop a base weighing half a ton.

The Jacksonville Maritime Museum is staffed by volunteers and is open from 10:30am to 3:00pm, Monday through Friday and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.


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