Charting New Waters!

The Houston Maritime Museum is about to embark on an aggressive capital campaign which will allow it to move its collections to a new building adjacent to the Port of Houston’s Sam Houston Pavilion on the Ship Channel in 2014. The museum signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Houston Authority regarding its relocation on December 13th, 2011.

“Relocating to the Ship Channel will allow us to fulfill the museum’s mission: to be Houston’s showcase of maritime heritage and commerce.” – Niels Aalund, Chairman of the Board

Donate today to our capital campaign

An expanded Houston Maritime Museum located along the Ship Channel will provide many benefits to the Houston Community. New exhibits on Inland Marine, Offshore Oil and Gas, Logistics, and the Port of Houston will showcase these industries and educate the community on their importance. In addition to more exhibits, the new museum will provide classroom, meeting, and auditorium space to host educational programs, business meetings, and social events. Lastly, this location will allow HMM to develop synergies with the already popular tour boat, the M/V Sam Houston, which draws thousands of visitors to the site. Read more about this exciting endeavor…

  • Commissioning the Voyage
  • Fulfilling the Mariner's Vision
  • Navigating a Successful Future
  • Supporting the Journey
  • Commissioning the Voyage

    The Houston Maritime Museum is planning a maiden voyage in 2014 as it continues to steer toward the Port of Houston Authority’s Sam Houston Pavilion on the Houston Ship Channel! The relocation and expansion of the museum is scheduled to correlate with the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Houston Ship Channel. The repositioning of the museum will fulfill its mission: To capture and preserve the wonder and influence of maritime history and the maritime industry with focus on the development of Houston, the Texas Gulf Coast and the State of Texas.

    The new museum will benefit the public by creating a family-friendly tourist attraction that will serve as a focal point of the maritime industry through education, events and promotion. Innovative exhibits that will showcase Maritime History, the Port of Houston, Inland Marine, Logistics and Offshore Oil and Gas will captivate guests of all ages and promote respect and a greater understanding of the maritime industry’s economic impact on the region, nation and world. A memorandum of understanding between the Port of Houston Authority and the museum regarding its relocation and expansion was signed Dec. 13, 2011.

    This prime location and partnership with the Port of Houston Authority allows for the creation of a world-class maritime museum that will serve as a beacon for visitors. Already, HMM’s staff of well-trained and enthusiastic docents help draw attention to the facility’s extraordinary collection of ship models, navigational instruments and marine artifacts with fascinating maritime experiences that intrigue guests of all ages. Additionally, the new location at the Port will allow the museum to host larger school groups, increase the size of its outreach programs and provide significant support to maritime education programs in our regional high schools and colleges.

  • Fulfilling the Mariner’s Vision

    The Houston Maritime Museum was founded by James L. Manzolillo, who was a true maritime Renaissance man – World War II Merchant Marine, marine engineer and cruise ship lecturer. A naval architect who traveled extensively, Manzolillo believed the artifacts he acquired while visiting countless countries were meant to be shared.

    Since opening its doors to the public in December of 2000, the museum has been a magnet for local marine collectors and modelers. Additionally, a world-class collection of navigational instruments, along with numerous other maritime-related items and paintings, have been added to the collection. The museum has more than 150 model ships and more than 100 types of navigational instruments, while also featuring artifacts that date back as far as 500 B.C.!

    With almost 2,300 square feet of exhibit space divided into ten galleries, the current museum features exhibits ranging from the Age of Exploration to commercial sail, fighting sail, modern commercial, WWII and modern naval warships. It also features an exhibit on the maritime aspects of the oil and gas industry. In 2010, a comprehensive exhibit about the Port of Houston was completed, including a “PortVision” station showing the real-time vessel traffic at the world’s major seaports. To commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Texas, an exhibit highlighting the two Texas Navies opened in 2011.

  • Navigating a Successful Future

    The new Houston Maritime Museum will be an interactive center where the public can learn about the history of the maritime world, as well as what the future might hold, and will highlight the predominance of the petrochemical industries that help make the Port of Houston so unique.

    A primary goal of the museum is to increase the public’s appreciation and awareness of the significant contributions of the maritime industry to the Houston area, including the challenges of the original construction of the Ship Channel, the growth of the country’s largest petrochemical complex and the ongoing dynamic expansion of the port.

    The many rewarding careers in maritime-related industries is another important message that the museum will continue to provide. The location adjacent to the Sam Houston provides a unique opportunity to go beyond the classroom and encourage learning without walls. The museum is beginning to establish teaching modules to be used by local teachers in their classrooms, through distance-learning initiatives and scouting programs and as part of the museum’s staff outreach to schools and community centers.

    The proposed new facility will contain classrooms and meeting facilities that will host maritime education programs and maritime industry seminars alike. A catering station and common areas are planned so the museum can host business and community functions. Job development programs and small business activities can also be hosted there. High-value traveling exhibits also will be featured in the museum’s planned exhibit space.

  • Supporting the Journey

    The Houston Maritime Museum is embarking on an aggressive capital campaign to showcase the maritime community’s impact on the economy and citizens of the city, county and beyond.

    Everyone in the Houston region has a stake in this project because the Houston Ship Channel has been a prime generator of economic development for the area since it was established some 100 years ago.  For that reason, relocating the museum to the Port of Houston is a high priority.

    The Houston Maritime Museum is required to raise $1.5 million by June of 2013, under terms of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Houston Authority. These funds will be applied toward construction of the new museum, scheduled to open in 2014. During the construction phase, fundraising efforts will continue to support the interactive exhibits and furnishing the museum.

    The Houston Maritime Museum’s future depends on generous donations of money, objects and time volunteered by people like you. As a nonprofit organization, the Museum is supported primarily by your tax-deductible contributions.


    HMM is incorporated under the provisions of the Texas Non-Profit Corporations Act as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public charity.