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The Waterfront Museum (Federal Tax ID # 11 3569896) is a 501 C-3 not-for-profit organization founded in 1986. Our mission is to provide waterfront access and programs in education and the arts aboard an historic vessel. The Museum is housed aboard the only wooden barge of the "lighterage era" (1860-1960) that is still floating in America - which has earned it a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Mission of the Hudson Waterfront Museum is to:
• Provide public access to the New York Harbor for use and enjoyment by the general public.
• Provide a unique facility capable of showcasing Red Hook's positive aspects and creating a cultural destination.
• Provide free and low-cost opportunities for education, exhibition, and the performance arts.
• Provide an educational curriculum and maritime/environmental education program for schools and organizations.
• Promote our rich maritime heritage via the historic preservation of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge #79 and advocate for developing additional docking facilities for historic vessels at town docks along our water highway.
• Collaborate with businesses and community groups to strengthen the quality of Red Hook's revitalization.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge #79, built in 1914, is the only floating wooden covered barge of its kind. The Waterfront Museum, aboard Barge #79, relocated to Red Hook, Brooklyn in 1994 after seven years of operations with ports-of-call including Liberty State Park in Jersey City, South Street Seaport in NYC, Piermont, NY and others. Barge #79 was rescued from Edgewater, NJ in 1985, where she had been made obsolete by major shifts in the shipping industry in the 1950's. Prior to that period, railroad companies maintained large fleets of barges to bring goods between railroad terminals, across and along the Hudson River for consumer use, and for shipment overseas. Barge #79 had been sunk in up to 8 feet of mud (inside). After nine years of mud removal, caulking and repairs, the barge was returned virtually to her original 1914 condition. In 1989 she opened as a Museum with the mission to provide educational and cultural programs to the general public and to advocate for waterfront access. In her fifteen-year history as a showboat and classroom, hundreds of thousands have come to the waterfront to participate in Museum programs and events.