Major Gift to Fund Maritime History Exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has received a gift of $4.5 million from the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation. The gift will fund the completion of a major new exhibition “On the Water: Stories from Maritime America,” scheduled to open in 2009.

“The maritime influence on American history is one of the most compelling chapters in our national narrative,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This spectacular gift from the Møller Foundation will allow us to engage audiences of all ages in a dynamic exploration of America’s maritime past and present.”

“On the Water” will provide a multimedia educational experience spanning more than 300 years of American history. The exhibition will build on the Smithsonian’s unparalled National Watercraft Collection of rigged ship models, patent models and images to bring the sights, sounds and stories from the oceans, inland rivers and coastal communities to the Museum’s millions of visitors. Visitors will explore life and work on the nation’s waterways, from 19th century whaling ships to today’s mega containers. “On the Water” will be an 8,000-square-foot exhibition that replaces the Museum’s “Hall of American Maritime Enterprise,” which was on view from 1978 to 2006, when the Museum closed for renovation.

Multimedia elements for “On the Water” will include archival videos, first-person narratives about experiences at sea, a Web site and public programs.

The A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is associated with A.P. Møller –Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company.


The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations. For information about the museum, please visit or call Smithsonian Information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).

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Valeska Hilbig
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Melinda Machado
(202) 633-3129