Today, the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMM) broke ground on its new 2,600 sq. foot pavilion at the Museum’s Park Campus (Ellen O. Moyer Nature Park) located at 7300 Edgewood Road in Annapolis. Mayor Gavin Buckley of Annapolis and other representatives from the City of Annapolis, AMM’s Board of Directors, dignitaries, and honored guests were in attendance for the ceremonial event.
The new Merrill Family Pavilion is designed to support educational, recreational, and cultural programming for people of all ages and abilities (ADA Accessible). The Merrill Foundation provided the lead gift for the pavilion. “The Merrill Foundation enthusiastically supports this pavilion project as it creates a space for people to learn about and celebrate their local environment as well as serves as an outdoor classroom,” said Nancy Merrill, President of The Merrill Foundation. Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2023.
The pavilion, located adjacent to AMM’s existing Education Center building, will be used primarily as a covered outdoor classroom, for overnights, family programs, and school field experiences, expanding AMM’s capacity for school and public programming. The Education Center at AMM provides rich, outdoor learning experiences and serves more than 12,000 students annually, with approximately 45% of those participants from low-income or underserved communities.
In addition to serving as an outdoor classroom, the pavilion will enable AMM to extend its meeting/event season into the fall and early spring. Pavilion rentals and ticketed events will generate vital revenue to support AMM’s education programs, many of which are offered to the community and the county school system free of charge. The striking, custom stone fireplace and distinctive cupola will provide a natural, ambient, and unique design that creates a sense of place and community connection at the water’s edge along Back Creek.
More amenities will soon be underway at the park. A raised boardwalk will extend a path from the shoreline to a new, public deep-water dock, allowing visitors to safely enjoy Back Creek while protecting the creek’s ecosystem. The ADA-accessible walkway will expand public water access in Annapolis via a 400-foot boardwalk. The 250-foot-long dock will be a hybrid structure with fixed and floating components. It will be used as a transient dock with power and water, and will serve as a protective berth for the Museum’s historic skipjack, Wilma Lee. Funding for the boardwalk and dock is from Maryland DNR and National Park Service Chesapeake Office.
In 2016, AMM signed a long-term lease with the City of Annapolis to expand its facilities to the Ellen O. Moyer Nature Park, a 12-acre urban park with a historic waterworks building. “The City of Annapolis is so excited to partner with the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park on our initiative to connect Back Creek all the way to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “That will be a special day.” Significant projects have already been completed at the park, including trail and wetlands restoration and renovations of the waterworks building.
“Together these extraordinary new spaces will increase AMM’s reach as a leader in maritime and environmental education as well as enhance public water access. We are so grateful to the City of Annapolis who has entrusted us to create a unique public space for the community to enjoy”, stated Alice Estrada, President and CEO of the Annapolis Maritime Museum.