“To educate the world about Camden’s rich maritime heritage and significant contributions to global shipbuilding and seafaring exploration”


Our mission is to restore the historic Church of Our Savior, situated in the South Camden N.J. Historic District (also known as Waterfront South), and transform it into a small, first class, maritime museum that will educate, inspire and engage with children and other visitors.

The museum will collect, conserve, exhibit, and interpret artifacts related to Camden’s maritime heritage. Specifically, the museum activities will be organized around the rich history of maritime and port related industrial activities that contributed to the development of the City of Camden, its region and the nation. The museum will celebrate the diverse array of maritime industries and communities that contributed to the fame of Camden, once known as “The Greatest Little City”. The museum will also stress the interrelationship between Camden’s maritime industries and the rich ecological diversity of the rivers and estuaries that supported the development of Camden.

The museum will be established in the Church of Our Saviour because it was constructed from ballast stones brought from Greenland by the world famous artic explorers Robert and Josephine Peary and Matthew Henson and that the many trips by these local mariners were supported by Delaware Valley scientific associations. As a result of these singular historical connections, their exploits will be a central focus of the museum’s exhibits and its programs.

Another focal point for the museum will be organized around materials loaned by local benefactors and the Camden County Historical Society, that reflect the long history of the giant New York Shipbuilding Corporation (now the South Jersey Port Corporation) in Camden. An ancillary collection of archival materials on loan from the Fairview Historic Society, related to the development of garden villages for housing shipbuilders, such as Fairview (Yorkship Village) in South Camden, will also be part of the initial collections.

It is envisioned that the museum will be:

  • An exhibition and archive of boats, maritime artifacts and documents associated with the Port of Camden’s rich history of shipbuilding, boatbuilding, and associated maritime industries. A small boat gallery has received major funding.
  • An inspiration to local youth via programs and exhibits that emphasize the heroic exploits
    of the Peary's as well as Matthew Henson, the famous African-American mariner and Arctic explorer and the first American to reach the North Pole. An imposing statue of Henson now
    stands in front of our museum.
  • A “Camden Gateway Project” for the rehabilitation of South Camden’s historic waterfront buildings as part of a major neighborhood redevelopment effort for the area funded by a public-private partnership.
  • An integral component of the developing array of tourist attractions related to Camden’s waterfronts.
  • A venue for maritime oriented symposia, technical and vocational courses, demonstrations, research, interactive programming and activities for Camden school children, the general public and the professional maritime community.
  • A means of enabling local youth to take advantage of the diverse recreational boating opportunities afforded by the Delaware and Cooper Rivers and the Newton Creek.
  • A catalyst for various exhibits and programs highlighting the many historic neighbor-hoods specifically designed for shipbuilders and mariners in the city of Camden and nearby communities.

designed by: Robert Rae Design Studio, LLC

®2011 Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum