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The Maritime Gloucester team is so excited to share this highly anticipated new space with you! Our brand-new Maritime Science Education Center is a year-round, indoor science education space where learners of all ages can get up close and personal with local marine species at our touch tanks, learn about Gloucester's varied marine habitats, climb aboard our kid-sized lobster boat to evaluate the day's catch, and explore a microscopic world in our newly refitted plankton lab. 


We are no longer doing timed admissions to this space, visitors are free to come and explore during our regular operating hours. Admission to this space is included with membership. If you are not a member you can visit by paying our regular admission fee when you check in at our welcome desk.  



Since 2004, Maritime Gloucester has provided invaluable, hands-on, marine science education to every student in the Gloucester Public Elementary Schools and students in many other communities throughout the North Shore. Through this work we are able to connect Gloucester's storied Maritime Heritage with the local marine species and ecosystems that continue to be an important part of our past and our future. In addition to our classroom education, Maritime Gloucester's Sea Pocket Aquarium and public marine science pop-up lessons have been essential environmental outreach to our members and the visiting public. 

We have done a lot with the space we have and the demand for this type of relevant, experiential education has exceeded what our space can currently provide. It is with this in mind, and a generous 3-year grant from the Cummings Foundation that we kick off a remodeling and redesign campaign that will enable us to connect with many more students and visitors in new and exciting ways. With your support we can make this vision for a dynamic, purpose built Maritime Science Education Center a reality! Please read on for details on the center and how you can help. A complete PDF overview is also available to download at the bottom of this page.

Previous Limitations

  • Our Sea Pocket Aquarium is outside and seasonal. This limits the majority of school field trips to small windows in the spring and fall and also makes them weather dependent

  • We only have one dedicated, year-round teaching space, making it impossible to host more than one group of students during the cooler months

  • Once the Sea Pocket Aquarium is closed for the season there is no opportunity for members and the public to interact with our specimens and marine science learning is significantly reduced

New Maritime Science Center

  • A year-round, indoor touch tank and exhibit space for classes and visitors to enjoy, increasing our outreach and benefit to our members

  • 2-3 dedicated teaching spaces. Enabling MG to fulfill demand for our classes (we have had to turn away field trips in the past due to space limitations)

  • Increased sustainable revenue streams during months we would not have typically generated programmatic income

  • Increased capacity for marine science research for older students, an often requested item 



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The Plan

The Plan

We have planned for a multi-phased project, with each Phase being a distinct, functional use and design by itself. We are currently seeking funds for Phase 1: renovating and refitting our current wetlab and surrounding, underutilized space to create a new, cohesive Maritime Science Center. At the end of this Phase, we will have achieved 1,350 square feet of multi-purpose classroom and exhibit space with indoor year-round touch tanks. The graphic to the right details how the space will be used. Phase 1 will be completed for our reopening winter 2023

Phase 2 will involve enclosing a large portion of what is currently our outdoor sea pocket aquarium. This will allow for us to expand our Phase 1 space to include more tanks and educational space. Detailed plans on what this space will look like are still being developed.

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The Need

The Need

Total Cost for Phase 1: $111,910.

Needed to date: Phase 1 goal reached! Now raising funds for phase 2

A $100,000, 3-year grant from the Cummings Foundation, $17,000 in funding for curriculum development from Applied Materials (important but not included in our phase 1 projection) and $24,650 in donated in-kind labor puts this project on a strong initial footing. With this Case for Support, we were able to raise the final $53,927 needed to complete Phase 1 from the community. 

The COVID-related closure of our aquarium eliminates the need to complete the project in smaller stages. By raising these funds quickly, we will be able to expedite the project during our closure and, therefore, keep renovation costs significantly lower. 

We hope that this proposal excites you about the opportunity we now face. We feel that this investment in capital improvements has real, tangible benefits to the mission of Maritime Gloucester and to the youth of Cape Ann.

How to Help

How to Help

There are many ways to support this project. 

  • Donations toward our construction costs to complete Phase 1 are the most time sensitive. 

  • An annual giving pledge to maintain the operations of the new Maritime Science Center, securing this opportunity for future generations.

  • Leadership gifts in the range of $10,000 or more.

  • Sponsorship with recognition opportunities.

  • Matching challenges. 

  • Naming options.

We would like to discuss any of these options with you. Please contact Michael De Koster, Executive Director, at 617-233-7016 or mdekoster@maritimegloucester.orgfor more information. 

We appreciate your support. 

Who This Serves

Who This Serves

This project serves two distinct populations within the Maritime Gloucester community. Our new Maritime Science Center will be a significant added benefit to our members and the visiting public. This will allow visitors to engage with our touch tanks and marine science curriculum year-round and in all weather.

The new Maritime Science Center will also provide additional classroom and research space, which will allow Maritime Gloucester to host more field trips both simultaneously and year round. Over the past several years we have had to turn away groups looking for field trips due to a lack of space. This additional space will allow us to reach more students than ever before.


For further details and a full case statement please download the below PDF

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