H. Lee White Maritime Museum

Strategic partnership/ merger costs


The purpose of the Maritime Museum is to “promote, protect, enhance and collect the historical resources associated with the Oswego River and its drainage basin, the Oswego Canal, and Lake Ontario.”

Thanks to the 2013 investment provided by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation and matched by the CNY Community Foundation, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego is now in a position to grow, expand and be the regional center for the education of Oswego’s maritime history, heritage and culture. The merger, as funded by the Shineman Foundation, resulted in the museum being awarded a provisional charter from the NYS Board of Regents. This provides five years to ensure adherence to professional museum practices and procedures in order to receive an absolute charter. This final absolute charter is a mark of excellence for educational institutions, including museums, within New York State. The museum will add full-time professional staff to ensure the standards set by such a charter are met and continue to remain so.

The new grant provided by the Shineman Foundation in July will move the museum into the first phase of its reinvention by creating concrete steps and plans towards the goal of establishing a professionally run educational institution that will serve as the leader in the community for museum heritage both past and future. Specific plans are newly funded exhibits, newly established collections storage and work space, significant progress on the lighthouse restoration, advancement on projects, vessel planning and staff development.

The museum has always been a driving force for change in the local community. It regularly advocates for the preservation of local maritime resources, creation of partnerships that drive change and is always at the forefront of big ideas that use combined cultural resources to further the community’s success in many ways. The museum seeks to improve quality of life beyond the local community and into the entire region with this grant. Shineman funding will provide a professional curator to ensure that historic preservation projects, collections management practices and educational initiatives are successful in the long-term, and will create an opportunity for the museum to help lead major changes locally and regionally by advocating for the NYS Blueway Trail and for Oswego as a National Marine Sanctuary site. This will also ensure the museum’s ability to complete the restoration of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse, making it available for public tours, leading to continued development of the community’s on-the-water cultural resources.