Traditional Arts Apprenticeship – Shipbuilding in Essex

Join National Heritage Fellow Harold Burnham, and his Apprentice KD for an update on their progress for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship. After a hiatus for the summer sailing season Harold & KD are back working on the rehabilitation of Sylvina W. Beal, the return home of Schooner Isabella, and all manner of shipyard nonsense.

This series of events will run through the spring of 2022, kicking off on January the 25th at 7PM via Zoom.

These are free to attend, find more details at the link below:

Festival In The Shipyard

……. What’s an Apple Armada?

With over 200 apples donated by Russel Orchard, your kids will float and find the best placement for their mast prior to launching their personalized Apple Boat into the Essex River at 3pm on the incoming time.

Our Chase boat will retrieve the Apple Boats from the finish line in front of Great Marsh Brewing Company.

1st, 2nd and 3rd place prices will be awarded

This is an outdoor event, so keep an eye on the weather and on our social media pages for updates.

Donate today, we appreciate your support!

Frame Up to Fit Out – Sylvina W. Beal Restoration

Talk 1 of 4 on March 11th.

Join Katherine Dench, Mass Cultural Council’s granted apprentice to master shipwright Harold Burnham, as she chronicles her experience in taking part in the restoration process of the historic Sylvina W. Beal and wooden boat building – from sketch to launch.

ZOOM Links will be sent 1hr prior to virtually scheduled talks on the dates listed below:

7pm-8p | Thursday, March 11th | Thursday, April 8th | Thursday, May 13th | Thursday, June 10th

Sylvina W. Beal @paultrefry

Tickets can be purchased here: They are free for members and $10 for all others.

Save the Barn to Raise The Barn !

Please join the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum in its effort to save a historic 18th century barn and a piece of our community’s history. A premier example of pre-industrial workmanship, the barn features hand-hewn timbers and traditional mortise and tenon joinery. Once part of the historic Cogswell farm in the Town of Essex, MA, the barn has proudly served many generations, including the prominent female American architect Eleanor Raymond. It is a structure with both historic and architectural importance.

The barn is currently located on John Wise Avenue in Essex, on a site under municipal development. It was originally slated for demolition, but the Museum has an opportunity to disassemble and preserve the barn; however, the structure must be removed by mid-February 2020 or it will be demolished. There is a team of enthusiastic and skilled volunteers working at the site already, but your financial support is critical to the success of this effort.

Time is of the essence and we need your help!

“Speaking to their good stock and helpful demeanor, the contractors hired to construct the new Town Safety Building have no appetite for driving their steel buckets through the still sturdy, quite entirely intact original roof and walls of this long serving, still ready, good friend.” -David Brown, Vice President of the ESM Board of Directors

It is the Museum’s intent that the legacy of this historic structure not come to an end, and that – once successfully disassembled and removed – the barn be re-erected and preserved at the Museum’s shipyard, a National Heritage Site, where it can be used for desperately needed boatbuilding, educational programming, or interpretive space, and where the public can access and appreciate the craftsmanship and history of the structure for generations to come. The Museum has raised an initial $22,000 from private donors to kick off this effort, and has received generous donations of time and equipment from local firms.

However, additional funding is critical.

The Museum currently has a commitment to match dollar-for-dollar the next $20,000 of donations, to help reach an immediate goal needed to accomplish the removal of the barn from the site and avoid its demolition. Further funding will be needed to support the barn’s re-erection and re-purposing.For more information go to the EHSSM website: or to make a donation go here: and thank you!

Frame Up to Fit Out Lecture Series – Dan’s Dories – Jan 8th

Come and join the conversation with Dan Noyes as he talks about building and sailing his Centennial Dory up and down the Atlantic Coast.

Dan, an accomplished boat designer, builder and repairer based in Newbury, will entertain and engage with tales of boat building and seafaring.

Grab a friend and come enjoy the discussion.

January the 8th, 7:00pm at Essex Shipbuilding Museum, 66 Main Street, Essex MA 01929. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance here:

Winter Solstice Celebration in the Shipyard

Come learn a new skill or craft to do by the fire this winter at our Solstice Celebration.

There will be activities such as log splitting in the yard and crafts from wood carving to knitting in the Waterline Center for kids and adults.

Activities range from $2 to $20. There will be baked goods and hot drinks!

December 21st from 11am to 4pm at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, 66 Main Street, Essex 01929

For more information go to the website:

Frame up to Fit Out Lecture Series – By Skiff & Basket

Come join the conversation on the history of clamming in Essex, the build of an authentic clamming skiff by students from the Topsfield Vocational Academy and the making of clamming baskets.

The leaders of the project, Justin Demetri, Jeff Lane, Mark Webster, Chris Stepler, and Susannah Winder will host a conversational lecture where derailing the conversation is most definitely encouraged! Come with your curiosity and you won’t be disappointed.

The fun begins at 7PM on December the 18th at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. Tickets are are available on our website: or at the door – $10 for non-members and $8 for members.

You can find the original GMG article from the day the skiff went clamming here :

Burial Grounds and Gravestones!

Did you enjoy the graveyard tour in Essex? Come and learn more about gravestones with the Essex Shipbuilding Museum President, Dr. David Driscoll. He is sure to have you on the edge of your grave, clinging on for dear life in the next installment of the “Frame Up to Fit Out Speaker Series”

November 20th, 7 pm at the Shipbuilding Museum. To purchase tickets and learn more follow the link :

Ditty Bag Workshop

The perfect project now you have put the boat to bed! Come and get your ditty on at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum.

Join us in the Waterline Center for a Sunday morning workshop and make your own ditty bag. These bags have been used by sailors for centuries and have many uses from tool bags to produce bags. Please bring your own lunch!

Sunday, November 10th from 9am to 1 pm. All materials are provided and cost per bag is $40. For more details see the website here :