Northwest Maritime’s Welcome Center Debuts May 9

Northwest Maritime Center will celebrate the opening of its new Welcome Center on May 9 with a Grand Opening celebration for the community.

The former “Chandlery” store space has been transformed into a new Welcome Center for the campus, including exhibits on Port Townsend’s maritime history, maritime culture, and Northwest Maritime Center’s programs, a front desk for all Northwest Maritime Center activities, and a space for retail.  

The grand opening event will be held on May 9 from noon to 6 PM, which will include snacks and store discounts.  Northwest Maritime Center staff and board members will be on hand to answer questions and share information about the project.

Visitors to the Welcome Center will be able to engage in activities like learning about maritime signal flags and parts of a boat. The space will also feature classic Wooden Boat Festival posters, a Nootka canoe, a topographic map focused on local waterways, and a photo exhibit of the “Faces of the Marine Trades,” among other items.

In addition, the front door and dressing room have been modified to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards to enhance accessibility.  Finally, enhanced wayfinding signage will help those visiting Northwest Maritime to find where they need to go.  

“I’m so excited! The Welcome Center is the culmination of years of work, and now our maritime culture has a front door—a way to celebrate what makes our community incredible and a way to welcome new people into it,” said Jake Beattie, CEO of Northwest Maritime Center.

Following the grand opening event, the Welcome Center will be open daily:  Sunday through Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and Friday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Opening hours are subject to change with the seasons and during special events or holidays.

The new Welcome Center was funded by donations from Northwest Maritime Center supporters, the State of Washington’s Heritage Capital Projects program administered by the Washington State Historical Society, and a grant from the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area, for which Northwest Maritime Center is a pilot project and official partner.  

“Northwest Maritime Center has created a wonderful space for locals and visitors to feel the beauty, history and the culture of our beloved waterfront,” said Carol Hasse, master sailmaker, Commissioner for the Port of Port Townsend, a founder of Wooden Boat Festival, and more. “It says ‘welcome aboard’ to all to enjoy the Northwest Maritime campus, and to learn more about its endeavors, programs, and events—and the annual Wooden Boat Festival that started it all!”