The Sailing Museum Has Officially Set Sail in the Ocean State

The new downtown Newport attraction opened to the public on May 10.
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Photo courtesy of the Sailing Museum / Cate Brown

With an illustrious sailing history that dates back to the eighteenth century, it’s only fitting that the City By the Sea should play host to the newly opened Sailing Museum. Housed in the historic Armory Building right on the waterfront, the state-of-the-art museum features both the National Sailing Hall of Fame and the America’s Cup Hall of Fame as well as several high- and low-tech interactive exhibits that will put your sailing knowledge and experience to the test. The museum even encourages newbies to (metaphorically and literally) take a dive into the sport.

The exciting excursion begins as soon as you step through the doors. First up, you will need to select a boat for your travels. More experienced sailors have their pick of seven options while the less sea-steady will take a short quiz to help determine the right vessel for them. From there, the boat becomes your avatar throughout your visit, guiding you through the various hands-on elements embedded with real-world applications of STEAM concepts and providing you with the chance to build your sailing skills and earn virtual awards. The first floor of the museum is divided into six thematic areas including Wind and Water; The Making of a Sailor: Mental; The Making of a Sailor: Physical; Teamwork; Competition; and Legends of Sailing – National Sailing Hall of Fame and America’s Cup Hall of Fame, while the second floor is home to additional exhibits and a private lounge honoring Hall of Famers.

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Photo courtesy of the Sailing Museum / Cate Brown

“The museum is Newport and Rhode Island’s newest cultural institution and tourist attraction and is directly tied to the heritage and identity of the Ocean State,” says Heather Ruhsam, the Sailing Museum’s executive director. “Opening the museum fulfills a longstanding vision of the organization’s founders. A dream seventeen years in the making, made possible by the work and support of so many individuals who came together to make this truly stunning location a reality. The Sailing Museum is not only intended to preserve the history of the sport, but to educate and inspire future sailors and innovators.”

Meanwhile, Gus Carlson, President of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, calls the site a feast for the senses.

“Our goal was to create a special place that engages everyone, from our sport’s faithful to casual sailors to newcomers who are curious about what happens when wind and water meet,” he says. “We are confident The Sailing Museum is and will continue to be a unique venue to showcase our sport and the accomplishments of its heroes.”

The Sailing Museum will be open daily through the summer season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available for $18, with discounts for seniors, students and military. Children ten and under can enjoy the museum for free. The Sailing Museum is also a member of the Museums for All program which provides reduced admission to low-income visitors at over 800 museums across the country. Tickets for visitors participating in the SNAP program are priced at $2.

For more information about the Sailing Museum, visit thesailingmuseum.org.

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Photo courtesy of the Sailing Museum / Cate Brown