Jan. 17, 2021

Windjammer Emporium has learned a lot about what it takes to run a museum inside a retail store.

Having a maritime museum in conjunction with a retail store has been an educational experience for the local community and visitor to Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Located inside Windjammer Emporium, folks who tour the museum quickly learn that for hundreds of years, Boothbay Harbor has been one of the leading shipbuilding towns in the U.S. They also find out that it is home to the oldest, continuous family operated shipyard in the U.S., now in its sixth generation.

“We have this kiosk that talks about the whole history of Hodgdon Brothers, now called Hodgdon Yachts,” says Mark Gimbel, who owns Windjammer Emporium with his wife, Dianne.

Over the years Hodgdon has made schooners, then got into lobster boats. The company also made ships for the U.S. military for the first and second World Wars and the Korean War before becoming a superyachts and limousine tenders manufacturer.

The museum also features a video of the once thriving ice industry prior to refrigeration.
“I have a video of that whole process showing the harvesting and loading 250-pound blocks of ice onto a ship,” he says.

While all this history is fascinating, Gimbel recognizes, “People’s attention spans are not very long when they are on vacation.”

So he keeps the videos short, between three and a half to six minutes long. The museum has three videos, five kiosks and several wall exhibits.