2024 Spring Appeal

To think it all began over a bowl of chowder.

Of course, there are few things more iconically New England than clam chowder, a dish filled with ingredients that were cultivated in and along the fertile Connecticut River Valley and transported by water to eager kitchens far beyond. Fifty years ago, over a bowl of clam chowder, historian Tom Stevens made a bold claim: the Steamboat Dock building in Essex, Connecticut “was the most historic property on the Connecticut River.” And so, instead of becoming shops or apartments or being torn down, the increasingly derelict Steamboat Dock was saved. It became the Connecticut River Museum.

Today, as we reflect on our first fifty years and look ahead to our next fifty and beyond, can we count on your support? Will you make a gift in honor of our historic property?

In 1974, Steamboat Dock began a new life as a museum. A place to explore the history of the Connecticut River, its valley and shores. A place to examine the relationships between indigenous people of the Dawnland and newly arrived Europeans, as well as the farmers and ship builders who continued to occupy the region. A place to investigate the rise and fall of industry, the arrival of steamships and summer people. And, a place to contemplate the devastating environmental impact created by people, industry, and invasive species that continues to challenge folks today. A place to imagine a future filled with wildlife, a place for recreation, a place for stories.

At the Connecticut River Museum, we create experiences and memories. We welcome some 25,000 people annually. We serve more than 3,600 school students. We engage folks from all corners of the state and well beyond. We offer lectures, hands-on learning, and summer music on the lawn. Through educational programs for learners of all ages and especially those in kindergarten to twelfth grade, we offer new and changing exhibitions and on-water experiences aboard our two vessels. The Museum is a resource locally and for the River Valley.

Since our founding 50 years ago, we have shared stories about the Connecticut River and its people and as we look ahead, we seek to develop the next generation of River Stewards to ensure that the future of the River is as robust as its past. We do this for you and for everyone who enjoys calling the Connecticut River Valley home.

It’s easy to take resources for granted – the air we breathe, the water we use, the museums we visit. Just as the River needs stewards and caretakers along its 410 miles, the Museum relies on people like you to ensure that the story of the River can be shared now and for years to come.

With your help, we can encourage all visitors to appreciate the Connecticut River and empower this next generation of environmental stewards who will be vital to ensuring the future of our Museum and the future of our River.

Click the button below to donate and thank you!

Special Information about Retirement Assets:

Donors aged 70 ½ or older may contribute up to $100,000 to charity from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Such contributions may also qualify as required minimum distributions. Consider if the Connecticut River Museum should be included in your end-of-year retirement planning.

If you would like to donate by mail, please send your check to:

Connecticut River Museum

67 Main Street

Essex, CT 06426

Please include in the memo: Spring Annual Appeal

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