Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 12, 2024

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

OPRHP Awards Grants to Support Maritime Heritage Education and Preservation Projects in New York State

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) announced today that 18 maritime heritage projects across New York State will be supported by almost $400,000 in federal grants through the New York State National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. The program, administered through the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), will provide funding for both maritime heritage preservation and education projects from Buffalo to Long Island.

Daniel Mackay, OPRHP Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation said, "Across New York State, the abundance and diversity of lakes, rivers, canals harbors and bays have shaped our identity and way of life. I am grateful to the National Park Service and MARAD for this funding and look forward to working with the awardees across the state to help preserve and highlight our state's rich maritime heritage."

In 2023, the National Park Service (NPS) awarded $2 million in maritime heritage grants to fund 12 preservation projects in nine states, including two awards totaling $392,500 to the New York State OPRHP: $150,000 for preservation projects and $242,500 for education projects. The federal grants available through this program are made possible through a partnership between NPS and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Awardees include municipalities and nonprofit organizations as well as New York State Parks and Historic Sites. Projects range from the preservation of a submerged Revolutionary War gunboat to the creation of a traditional mishoon, showcasing New York's unique and diverse maritime culture, both past and present.

The complete list of funded projects include: 


Chautauqua County | Barcelona Lighthouse: The grant allocation for the project, totaling $50,000, will be used to support restoration work at the 1829 lighthouse in Westfield, including masonry repairs plus repairs and replacement of wooden elements.

Clinton County | Clinton County Historic Association: The Clinton County Historic Association has been awarded $12,000 for the inspection and recordation of the Revolutionary War gunboat, Spitfire. One of eight gunboats built under the direction of Benedict Arnold in Whitehall (formerly Skenesborough), New York in 1776 and currently submerged in deep water in Lake Champlain, the Spitfire shipwreck is under direct threat from invasive species and environmental factors. This funding will support the work of a team of nautical archaeologists and a remote sensing specialist in securing an updated survey of this maritime resource.

Columbia County | Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society: The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society has been awarded $20,500 for the preparation of planning documents for the restoration of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Built in 1874 and located in the Hudson River, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is currently under threat from both environmental factors and commercial shipping impacts. The work supported by this funding will contribute to the larger, ongoing work to repair, restore, and protect the entire lighthouse and keep it accessible to the public.

Suffolk County | Long Island Maritime Museum: The Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville has been awarded $21,000 for the repair and preservation of the oyster sloop, Priscilla. Built in 1888 in Patchogue, New York, Priscilla is a working vessel which still sails in Long Island's South Shore and Great South Bay. This funding will support work necessary to keeping Priscilla in historically accurate condition and open for public sails.

Ulster County | City of Kingston: The City of Kingston has been awarded $20,500 for stabilization work at Rondout II Lighthouse. Put into operation in 1915, Roundout II was the last and largest manned lighthouse built on the Hudson River and is one of only seven surviving historic lighthouses remaining on the river today. Worsening conditions at the lighthouse make stabilization work critical to keeping this maritime resource open to the public.

Ulster County | Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy: The Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy has been awarded $16,000 for repair and refurbishment work at the Saugerties Lighthouse. This lighthouse is the oldest surviving "family station" on the Hudson River and is one of only seven surviving historic lighthouses on the river. Built in 1869, it still acts as a navigational aid on the river and this funding will support restoration of the lantern along with other necessary maintenance.


Nassau County | Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center: The grant allocation for the project, totaling $25,000, will be used to support Indigenous Sea Stories, a traveling exhibition developed in collaboration between NYS OPRHP and the Shinnecock Indian Nation. The project aims to educate the public about the influence of Indigenous coastal practices on Long Island, and to inspire present and future coastal stewardship by sharing local Indigenous stories of caring for the coastline.

Suffolk County | Connetquot River State Park Preserve:. The grant allocation for the project, totaling $25,000, will be used to support Gone Whaling: Long Island Seamen of Color, a traveling exhibition. The project features new research and highlights contributions of Indigenous and Black whalers from Long Island who participated in shore and offshore whaling until its decline in the second half of the 19th century. 

Cayuga County | Canal Society of New York State: The Canal Society of New York State has been awarded $25,000 for the recordation of underwater cultural resources in Seneca Lake. An important piece of New York's historic maritime transportation system, Seneca Lake is home to many submerged resources including sunken canal boats that are at increasing risk from deterioration by invasive species. The funding will support work to inventory these resources and increase public appreciation and education about them.

Erie County | Buffalo Maritime Center: The Buffalo Maritime Center has been awarded $12,000 for the development of an exhibit to accompany the newly constructed replica Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief. The exhibit will describe the boatbuilding process, the history of the original boat and the diversity of people who traveled on it, with the goal of telling a more complete story of the Erie Canal.

Essex County | Fort Ticonderoga Association: The Fort Ticonderoga Association has been awarded $5,000 for the provision of hands-on instruction in traditional maritime skills to the public. The activities will be part of Fort Ticonderoga's larger interpretation efforts of the American Revolution's Semiquincentennial (250th) anniversary and support public education about Lake Champlain's maritime heritage.

Suffolk County | Whaling Museum & Education Center: The Whaling Museum & Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor has been awarded $39,250 for the development of a new exhibition and program series titled Monsters & Mermaids: Legends of the Sea. The exhibit and accompanying programming will explore ocean-inspired myths and their contemporary cultural connections.

Nassau County | Long Island Children's Museum: The Long Island Children's Museum in Uniondale has been awarded $20,000 to support the creation of a mishoon, a traditional dugout canoe, by members of the Shinnecock Nation. The creation process will be documented and the final built piece will be installed as the focal point for an exhibition at the museum exploring the history and cultural significance of the mishoon.

Nassau County | Long Island Traditions: Long Island Traditions has been awarded $15,000 for the support of traditional maritime heritage-based workshops. The team at Long Island Traditions has decades of experience documenting the diverse maritime culture of Long Island and will select tradition bearers to lead workshops on a variety of maritime skills and activities for the public and select school districts.

New York County | City Parks Foundation: The City Parks Foundation has been awarded $20,000 for support of the Coastal Classroom Summer Institute. The program provides marine-based experiential education to students local to Coney Island.  The program emphasizes the region's historic and ecological importance and aims to empower future generations to help conserve New York's waterways and shorelines. 

New York County | Intrepid Museum Foundation: The Intrepid Museum Foundation has been awarded $17,000 for the creation of immersive audio experiences within the USS Growler. This nuclear submarine, in service from 1958 to 1964, has been open to visitors of the Intrepid since 1989. The funding will support the development of audio narratives featuring oral histories from crew members and soundscapes recreating life on board to improve exhibit accessibility and the public's experience.

Richmond County | Noble Maritime Collection: The Noble Maritime Collection has been awarded $8,750 for the development of an exhibition exploring the daily lives of the residents and staff at Sailors' Snug Harbor. The exhibit will focus on telling a more inclusive story about the people who lived and worked at this historic retirement home for retired, aged, and disabled sailors.

Steuben County | Finger Lakes Boating Museum: The Finger Lakes Boating Museum in Hammondsport has been awarded $8,000 for the development of an exhibit and educational programming related to the Erie Canal bicentennial (200th) anniversary. The project aims to highlight narratives that have been traditionally underrepresented in interpretation of Erie Canal history.

These direct grants from NPS to New York's SHPO were designed to support both in-house OPRHP projects and to be distributed as subgrants to eligible applicants. SHPO is utilizing grant funding to support three in-house projects for both award categories, including historic preservation work at Barcelona Lighthouse on Lake Erie ($50,000) and traveling educational exhibitions and programs exploring Black and Indigenous maritime histories on Long Island based at Jones Beach State Park and Connetquot River State Park Preserve ($50,000). SHPO selected 15 projects across the state to receive a total of $260,000 in available funding for the New York State National Maritime Heritage Subgrant Program. This program includes two tracks: NYS Maritime Heritage Preservation Subgrants and NYS Maritime Heritage Education Subgrants. For this round of funding, $90,000 will be distributed to five selected preservation projects and $170,000 will be distributed to ten selected education projects. Grant funds will also help support the administration of this new state-wide grant program.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518.474.0456. Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on Facebook InstagramX (formerly Twitter) and the  OPRHP Blog.