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Our Campus has two distinct areas for visitors to enjoy. Our pier is free and open to the public. On it, you will find America's oldest operating Marine Railway, several historic wooden boats, the Dory Shop, and, in the summer, an Oyster Upweller. There is an admission fee for our gallery and aquarium spaces. In this space, you will find our Lower Gallery (currently under construction), the Gorton's Seafoods Gallery, our outdoor Seapocket Aquarium, and our new Maritime Science Education Center. We also have a museum store, curated with a unique selection of gifts, books, toys, and clothing for kids and adults! Please read on for details on all of our spaces. 

Current Exhibits & Experiences Included with Admission

  • Gorton's Seafoods Gallery - This large gallery space is used to interpret the maritime history of our historic site and the connected maritime history of Gloucester. In this space, you will find a display detailing the evolution of the Gloucester Fishing Schooner, an interactive model of our historic marine railway which can be seen from the gallery window, a history of the Fisherman's sailing race which has evolved into the modern Gloucester Schooner Festival, the history behind the original antifouling paint which was developed across the harbor, The cockpit of fishing trawler Vincie N. as well as dozens of maritime models and artifacts. 

  • Maritime Science Education Center - Whether you are a visitor or a student, our Maritime Science Education Center is the place for you! Our 24 year history of blending heritage, habitats, science, and sailing is on full display in this interactive five-area complex.

    • Exploration Station The main event! Our indoor touch tanks, interactive exhibits, and exciting design bring local habitats and species front and center for young and old alike.

    • The Nancy Higgins-Hochberg Plankton Lab - This exciting digital space and fully immersive microscope lab provides the student and visitor a platform for learning about ocean life cycles and species.

    • The ImpACT Zone - Understanding more about natural and man-made impacts are what this zone is all about. Learn about sea level rise, invasive species, marine debris, and micro-plastics.

    • Sea-Pocket Aquarium (seasonal) - A favorite space for visitors, this outdoor experience gets you up close and personal with some local marine species.

    • The Sarah Frasier Robbins Marine Classroom - A key location in our educational programs, this classroom is engaged in marine science programming all week and open to the public on the weekend to explore various experiments and activities, encouraging citizen science and awareness.



Our Maritime Science Education Center was made possible through many local donors and grants. A very large part of its continued success and the realization of our vision for this unique Center on the North Shore is a multi-year grant from the Cummings Foundation, for which we, and our thousands of constituents, are extremely grateful.

​​Things To Do When You Visit Our Public Access Waterfront

  • Take a walk on the Harriet Webster Pier Named after our first Executive Director, this wooden pile timber wharf extends 200 feet out into Gloucester Harbor. From here, visitors have a great viewing perch to watch draggers, trawlers, lobster boats, and pleasure boats in the harbor. 

  • Visit our Marine Railway - Maritime Gloucester features the oldest operating marine railway in the country. Check out a boat on the rails. At low tide, see the old wooden support structures that lead into the harbor. Ask for one of our staff or site interpreters about the rich history of schooner repairs on this cherished site. The railway was built in 1849-1850 by Crandall Dry Dock

  • Take a sail on the Schooner Ardelle  The Ardelle is a 49-passenger traditionally built, 55' pinky schooner built and operated by Captain Harold Burnham. Captain Burnham was recently named a National Heritage Fellow, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The Schooner Ardelle is the Flagship of Maritime Gloucester and we proudly use her for our educational programming. The Schooner Ardelle is currently sailing daily and offering charters, please visit for more information. 

  • See the Schooner Adventure -  A National Historic Landmark, and the flagship vessel of Gloucester, this knockabout schooner, built in 1926, is one of the last remaining traditional wooden schooners built in Essex in the early 20th century.  

  • The Dory Shop -  Often active with students, friends, and visitors checking in with heritage dory builder and fisherman Geno Mondello. He builds sailing and rowing dories from scratch in his woodworking shop and his observation deck offers a comfortable spot to relax and check out the working waterfront.

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