FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

New Shrimping Museum will debut November 28

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 18, 2014 4:40 p.m.

Fernandina's Blessing of the Fleet 1969
Fernandina’s Blessing of the Fleet 1969

On November 28, 2014, the Marina Welcome Center/Amelia Riverfront Maritime Museum will be transformed into the new Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum.  The updated museum will highlight local shrimpers, boat builders, and innovators who made shrimping the main industry of Amelia Island in the early 20th century. Well-known local families such as the Cooks, the Traeyes, the Tiliakos/Deonas family, and the Burbank family are just some of a long list of people who contributed to making Amelia Island so central to the modern shrimping industry.

The Amelia Island Museum of History will mark the Grand Opening of the Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum with a ribbon cutting at noon on November 28, followed by a net making demonstration. Visitors will learn about the rich history of shrimping on Amelia Island, also known as the “Birthplace of the Modern Day Shrimping Industry.”

Nick Deonas
Nick Deonas

 

Billy Burbank
Billy Burbank

Gray Edenfield, Education Director of the Amelia Island Museum, said that the reason for the change from “Maritime Museum” to “Shrimping Museum” was to provide more focus and recognition for an occupation so central to the development of Fernandina Beach.  “This was a good opportunity,” he said, “for more public recognition for the work of shrimpers who have contributed so much to our community.”  He added that one of the best parts for him personally was being able to work with people like Nick Deonas and Billy Burbank, whose families have been so connected to the shrimping industry.  He credited both Deonas and Burbank with helping him select artifacts for display in the new museum.

Marina Welcome Center and Maritime Museum
Marina Welcome Center and Maritime Museum

For the past five years the Amelia Island Museum of History has successfully partnered with the city of Fernandina Beach to staff the Marina Welcome Center located at 17 S. Front Street while offering visitors a taste of the rich maritime history of Fernandina. The Marina Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum will update and expand exhibits on shrimping currently featured.  The Fernandina Beach City Commission has approved the change in name and focus.  The city provides the building and maintenance, while Museum volunteers help visitors maximize their enjoyment of the Centre Street area and local history.  All costs in the fabrication and installation of new exhibits are being borne by the Museum, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Shrimp Boat model featured at museum
Shrimp Boat model featured at museum

The Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum is the Amelia Island Museum of History’s most recent effort to bring to life and preserve the area’s rich history. The Museum encourages both local residents and visitors to stop by this new museum to learn more about the area’s history in the shrimping industry and the people who made it all possible. The museum hours remain 10am to 4pm, Monday – Saturday and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday.  The Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum is admission free and open to the public.

Additional information about the shrimping industry and other important ways in which local residents have earned their living to build Nassau County and Fernandina Beach over the years is available at the Amelia Island Museum of History, 233 S. Third Street, Fernandina Beach, FL  32034.  The Museum is open to the public with paid admission the same hours as the Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum.  For more information on both museums, volunteer opportunities, and special programs, call (904) 261-7378 or visit their website www.ameliamuseum.org.

Updated November 19 to include complete name of the structure:  Welcome Center/Shrimping Museum.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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