The program encourages those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits to visit the Museum for free. There is no limit to how many times a person can visit, and the free admission is good for up to four people per visit with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
We Stand With Black Lives Matter
New London Maritime Society stands with others for equity and justice, and in denouncing racism, intolerance, and exclusion. We will pursue cultural consciousness throughout our organization through substantive learning and transparent policies. We will dismantle any inequities within our policies, programs, and services; and we will commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, and advisory bodies.
The Custom House Maritime Museum strives to be a place where the entire community can learn from our shared history in order to build a more just & compassionate future.
NLMS acknowledges that the land, Nameeg, meaning fishing place, is the territory of the Western Nehântick, Mohegan, and Pequot, who have stewarded this land for generations.
To quote Joseph Pierce: A land acknowledgment is not enough. The land exists regardless of settler acknowledgment, which can only ever be the first step toward meaningful action. Next steps involve building relationships with that land as if it were your kin. Because it is.
Our monthly OpenMic welcomes performers of all kinds. Share your original music, poetry, prose, stand-up, or just say what is on your mind. Bring your bongos. Perform, join in, or just enjoy. Admission by donation.
Northeast Aerial Imaging
Saturday., September 14
Take our excursion to Fishers Island to view the 2019 exhibitions 'Against the Tide: Prohibition on Land and at Sea, 1919-1933', and 'The English Springer Spaniel on Fishers Island', both curated by Pierce Rafferty, at the Henry L.Ferguson Museum. A light lunch will be provided.
We thank our Friends and Sponsors
ARPA - Bodenwein Foundation - Chelsea Groton Foundation - Community Foundation of Eastern CT - CT Humanities - CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts - Eleven+ - Frank Loomis Palmer Fund - Maco Family Fund - Robinson+Cole - State of CT - SVOG U.S. Small Business Administration - Veolia / NL Water Authority.
New London Maritime Society (NLMS) CUSTOM HOUSE MARITIME MUSEUM l 150 Bank Street l New London, Connecticut 06320 l 860-447-2501 l email
A history of the Customs
service and its influence on
the Port of New London,
important artifact may well
be the building, itself.
in 1833 as New London's
U.S Custom House, designed
by architect Robert Mills.
NL's Custom House
opened in 1835. The
building has been the
museum's home since 1983.
Search our library collection online HERE
NLMS is in the NEWS Read about us HERE
The Custom House Maritime Museum - your local, independent, community museum - open year-round - telling the stories of New London's waterfront!
WHAT'S UP at the CUSTOM HOUSE ?
Keep in Touch
FISHWATCH The nation's database on sustainable seafood
For all events going on in the region, visit the
What's new in the MUSEUM SHOP?
Support NL Maritime Society
Saving our local maritime heritage sites through education, advocacy, & preservation.
New London Maritime Society is a New London-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You may make a donation online (above), or by mail.
New London Maritime Society - open year-round
your local, independent, community museum,
telling the stories of New London's waterfront.
150 Bank Street, New London, CT 06320
General admission $7. Children to age 18 - free!
Free for NLMS members, New London students & their families (with local ID), USCG cadets, active-duty military & their families, visitors with SNAP EBT card. If you require accommodations due to a disability please email us to discuss your needs. The request should be provided with enough time to reasonably set up the accommodation.
The Custom House is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 1 to 5 PM, Wednesdays and Saturdays we open at 10AM. We practice COVID-19 safety.
directed by Marisela La Grave and Pierce Rafferty
chronicles the remarkable story of how a lighthouse came
to be erected in the 1870s on a dangerous submerged
ledge amidst some of the most unpredictable and swiftest
moving tides on the East Coast.
made by her father Wesley Akin Hotchkiss.
Claudia Kenyon spoke at the December 2021
JIBBOOM CLUB meeting. Claudia Kenyon's Tales of the New London Waterfront. - Louis & the Gulf Weed Claudia's family has been on the water for generations -- both in New London and the French West Indies -- one relative working for the TA Scott Company at the time of the infamous Deutchland submarine incident. She shares her stories at a Jibboom Club gathering, November 16, 2021.
AMISTAD: A True Story of Freedom -- a permanent exhibition at the site of the original Amistad events of 1839.
Kids Ahoy! Tracing the Nautical Influence on Children's Clothing, Toys, and Entertainment
Vintage Dive Helmets
from two private collections: Jay Kane and Ed Uditis
of New London Maritime History
In everything we do, we work to support our community.
In 1983 NLMS was formed by citizens who who stopped an impending federal sale and kept NL's US Custom House intact & accessible. That's still who we are.
We believe in preserving our community's historic maritime structures. We believe in defending access to our local landmarks. We believe in free museum admission for New London students & their families!
Today we run a local maritime history museum, provide a free education program in NL Public Schools, and preserve three lighthouses.
2022 the Year of the Lighthouse
The Year of the Lighthouse has been a success, with tours to Race, Ledge, Harbor & Little Gull - a film premiere - a puppet play - we even washed the lighthouse!
Here are some staggering statistics:
New London Harbor Light: We completed landscaping at Harbor Light this summer with a $60,000 state Good-to-Great grant; 101 people toured the lighthouse - of these 32 were NL students + family funded by Veolia/NL Water Authority $5 tickets. A bench was donated in memory of Marie Elena Noawk. We washed Harbor Light in September, with a Go-Fund-Me campaign. A $10,000 donation from Louise Novitch will allow NLMS to finish the entrance gate.
Race Rock: Architecture firm Modern Ruins released their final building assessment/preservation plan in June; July had a film premiere of The History of Race Rock, sponsored by the Henry Ferguson Museum with 300 attending on Fishers Island - we've raised $15,000 in donations so far. Eighteen visitors toured inside Race Rock Lighthouse. NLMS received $100,000 for preservation repairs from the Ludwick Family Foundation.
New London Ledge Light: Ledge Light Foundation, which has overseen repairs since 1987, received $100,000 from the state Port Authority. NLMS brought 256 people to visit inside the lighthouse - among these 51 were NL students + family with $5 tickets funded by Veolia/NL Water Authority. Cracks appeared which may indicate structural decay; in November, NL Maritime Society launched a Go-Fund-Me campaign to raise $10,000 for an architectural assessment/restoration plan from Modern Ruins for Ledge Lighthouse.
With the Little Gull Foundation, NLMS brought the first public tours -- 54 people -- to visit Little Gull Island and Lighthouse.
NLMS and 100 friends toasted Inn owner Alwyn Christie and former City Development Director Ned Hammond at a fundraiser at NL’s Lighthouse Inn in September.
NLMS brought Arm-of-the-Sea Theater’s lighthouse puppet play Keep That Lamp Trimmed N’ Burning to Hygienic Park for a free family performance in September as part of the CT Maritime Heritage Festival, with a grant from the NL Cultural District.
STUDENT ART SHOW at the CUSTOM HOUSE
EXHIBITIONS now on view
Our MUSEUM SHOP offers all kinds of unique gifts. We have an extensive selection of books on maritime, local history, Freedom, and lighthouse topics. See what's NEW.
In January we're featuring some vintage items like the souvenir dish, below.
Our gifts have an extra feel good factor: when you shop with us, your purchases support the museum exhibitions & educational programs.
We're happy to report that the Museum has joined Museums for All to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.
The NL HarborCam is our 24/7 eye on the harbor.
We've had over 3.4M views!
Come 'on! Visit inside New London Harbor Lighthouse!
We give tours year-round!
See student art from Harbor, Winthrop, and Nathan Hale third-grade students in the Local-History & Landmarks program.
Meet at the lighthouse, then climb 116 steps to the lantern room -- all the while learning about the 261-year history of Harbor Light, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, and the tallest on Long Island Sound. The views at the top are spectacular!
The New London Maritime Society must commission a Preservation Plan for New London Ledge Lighthouse --
an icon of the region.
Won't you help us preserve this beloved historic landmark? Learn more at our Go Fund Me page.
We're half-way there!
Please Help us Fund a Preservation Plan for New London Ledge Lighthouse.
Tuesday, July 26, was the launch of our Race Rock Preservation Fund, with a film premiere & reception on Fishers Island, NY. Our great thanks to Ferguson Museum director Pierce Rafferty & the Henry L. Ferguson Museum for hosting a smashing start to our Lighthouse Preservation campaign. What a terrific film! Watch it now online: The History of Race Rock Lighthouse! It was truly a memorable day.
Open Mic at the Museum
Sunday, January 26, 6-9 PM
Open Mic meets from 6-9 PM
on the last Sunday of the month at the beautiful Custom House Maritime Museum.
Co-hosted by Kenny "Doc" Frazier and Christina Corcoran, our monthly open mic welcomes music, poetry, prose, stand-up or just say what is on your mind. Open to all ages and abilities for fun and camaraderie! Free.
Sunday, February 19, 3 PM
Presidents Day / Black History Month
Book Talk & Signing: Robert Forbes on Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia. Prof. Forbes locates the origin of United States' racial dynamic in Jefferson's notes on race. Specifically, in how Jefferson, against the popular notions of his contemporaries, reverses the victimization of the slave to the slave master. This rhetorical move revolutionized how intellectuals of his day conceptualized white supremacy. Admission by donation.