chat with a local :: Chris Galazzi

As many of you know, our summertime LoveLocal Fests take place on the beautiful Aselton Memorial Park on Hyannis Harbor. Our neighbors at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum are accommodating and patient partners on those two Sundays when we take over the area. The Museum plays an essential role to preserving our region’s maritime history under the able leadership of Executive Director Chris Galazzi, with whom we recently chatted.

From which port do you hail?
Born in Newport, Rhode Island at the Naval Hospital, and following years of car and plane travel from Washington State to upstate New York I arrived at Pleasant Bay in South Orleans at age 10 onboard a sailboat my father built, which we lived on for a year while visiting coastal towns up and down the Eastern Seaboard. After 43 years, I have managed to move three miles by land to East Orleans.

What captivates you about your day job?
Over the past four years, I have had the privilege and honor of working with our Board of Trustees, volunteers and members to preserve, protect and promote Cape Cod’s maritime history, by connecting our local at-risk youth with maritime skills training leading to first time jobs in local boatyards, enabling the Museum to be economically relevant to our community in a digital age. Partnering with world renowned artists like John Stobart to exhibit $2 million of his original artwork, installing the Cape’s largest private scrimshaw collection, and teaching STEM classes to local school kids has been great, but a summertime freezer filled with ice cream and a Crosby Catboat designed in the 1890s that I can take members sailing on to view the Kennedy compound and natural wonders of Lewis Bay are what keeps me here! {that DOES sound like a dream}

What’s this about a new book?!
The nationally acclaimed illustrator Kristina Rodanas has been the Museum Artist in Residence thanks to a donation from Toby Baker, an advisor and benefactor to the Museum. One day, while teaching STEM Gains STEAM classes to local students, we started kicking around the idea of how a young girl of 12 might have joined her father, a Nantucket whaling captain, on a voyage around the world on the eve of the American Civil War, where she recorded her experiences of foreign cultures and the natural world in her art journal. Naturally the Museum’s Scrimshaw collection and other artifacts became the basis for her personal drawings, and so “The Whaling Art Journal of Abigail M. Case” was born. It is the first in a series of five books about her adventures as a sailing captain in her own right during a time when sexism, racism, and slavery were cultural undercurrents amidst a storm of political and economic upheaval both domestically and abroad. More mature readers may find modern parallels, but our target audience is younger readers plotting their own adventures. The book is for sale at the Museum gift shop and online through our website, as well as at Titcomb’s {editors’ note: one of our favorite independent bookshops!}, but keep an eye out for the series in your local bookstores and online in the coming years.

What else will visitors find at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum?
From our Fine Arts Gallery to our Scrimshaw collection and exhibits about boat building on Cape Cod, including treasure recovered from our local shores to an active boatbuilding shop and STEM Gains STEAM classroom with daily projects for kids and adults, there is always something new at the Museum!

Tell us about your educational opportunities for adults and kids!
Children’s classes range from week long seminars to daily and half hour drop in projects, to adult boat building classes lasting from a two-hour demonstration to a 10-week or one-year traditional plank-on-frame boat building experience. If you do not see a class you are interested in on our website, drop by and talk to our Education Director or Boatwright to design your own class.

Who can we expect to hear from in your summer lecture series and when does it start?
Artist John Stobart, Whydah Museum director Chris Macort, filmmaker Andrew Fone, and celebrated South African novelist and ocean racer Brian Hancock are just the start of an exciting season of lectures – check our website for more details!

Why become a member of the Maritime Museum?
Membership enables both visitors and residents to support the preservation, promotion and protection of our maritime history, which keeps the Cape from being just another sandy coastal town between Washington, D.C. and Portland, Maine. From school break and summer kids’ projects to lectures and adult boatbuilding classes, there is always something exciting going on at the Museum. This year the Pillage The Village event will be more fun for your young pirates, and we are adding a special night for adult pirates, with the Museum’s signature Rum Punch and live music! Join us for a trip to see the Tall Ships in Boston, learn about the artist’s journey directly from John Stobart, see the debut of the Wianno Senior film “Where Dreams are Made, a Year at the Crosby Boatyard,” and our year-end Ocean to Cocktail Party, a member favorite with one of the Cape’s best silent auctions. Plus, if you are looking for a place to get married or celebrate an anniversary or birthday, members can invite their friends and family to experience our maritime history after hours!

What’s your favorite way to spend a Cape Cod day?
It’s a toss-up between having my head in the ice cream freezer before heading out for a Lewis Bay sail on the Catboat Sarah with museum members, and surfing clean, sandy Nauset Beach break in the sun with my three daughters after the wind has come around to the west following a nor’easter.

Anything we didn’t ask that we should have?
I’m wearing Reef sandals at my stand-up desk watching the sunset cast a glow on the Hy-Line fleet and fishing boats working the inner harbor, where each day committed staff, Board members, and community partners work to make a difference in our community for visitors and residents alike; yes, I love my job!

Thanks for sharing your wit and wisdom with us, Chris! Make sure to check out the Cape Cod Maritime Museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news, photos, and upcoming events – like Pillage The Village during LoveLocal Fest on July 30 and Free Fun Friday on August 11!

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