Shrimping Museum debuts at Fernandina Beach Marina Welcome Center

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 29, 2014 11:00 a.m.

 

Nick Deonas cuts the ribbon to officially dedicate the new Shrimping Museum as proud family members look on.
Nick Deonas cuts the ribbon to officially dedicate the new Shrimping Museum as proud family members look on.

After months of planning and exhibit construction, the Amelia Island Museum of History today formally dedicated the new Shrimping Museum, located in the City Marina Welcome Center at 17 S. Front Street before a capacity crowd. The dedication ceremony had been originally scheduled to take place outside, but wind and cool temperatures drove participants and visitors indoors, making for an even cozier gathering.

Museum Education Director Gray Edenfield and Museum Executive Director Phyllis Davis look on as Tommy Burbank and Nick Deonas address the audience.
Museum Education Director Gray Edenfield and Museum Executive Director Phyllis Davis look on as Tommy Burbank and Nick Deonas address the audience.

Museum Education Director Gray Edenfield emceed the ceremony, acknowledging the presence of both city and county commissioners in addition to two featured guests, Nick Deonas and Tommy Burbank. Edenfield said that the efforts of both guests had been invaluable in selecting artifacts for display in the new museum, which replaces the former Maritime Museum in the same location.

The audience listens to dedication speakers.
The audience listens to dedication speakers.

Nick Deonas briefly recapped some of the history that he has personally experienced as the descendent of prominent boat-building families whose boatyards were located near today’s city marina.

Tommy Burbank, representing the Burbank Networks, expressed his hope that the new museum will help revitalize the shrimping industry, once so important to Fernandina Beach’s economy.

Tommy Burbank and Nick Deonas pose before new museum exhibits
Tommy Burbank and Nick Deonas pose before new museum exhibits

Before and after the ceremony, visitors and media people alike competed for a few words with Deonas and Burbank. The crowd inside the building prevented many from fully appreciating the newly designed exhibits. Museum staff and Convention Visitors Bureau staff carefully threaded their way through a room packed with local residents, Museum volunteers and media representatives to offer complimentary tastes of Florida orange juice in addition to maps and visitor guides.

Burbank netmakers explain the intricacies of their craft to visitors.
Burbank netmakers explain the intricacies of their craft to visitors.

Representatives of the Burbank Networks provided a demonstration of net making on the Welcome Center landing. Today the firm produces many nets for athletic events around the nation in addition to continuing their work as leaders in the production of shrimp nets.

The Shrimping Museum and Marina Welcome Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free.

 

From First Coast News: “Amelia Island’s past is being remembered in a new museum in downtown Fernandina Beach that documents when shrimping was big business here. Mike Lyons has the story.” To view the video of click here.

 

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4 Responses to Shrimping Museum debuts at Fernandina Beach Marina Welcome Center

  1. Stumpjumper says:

    What a great compliment to our community! We need to continue to be proud of this heritage as there are only a select few communities in the world who can claim this profession.

    Shout out to the Deonas family! Job well done!

  2. Dave Lott says:

    thanks to all that made this exhibit possible. a treasure for sure.

  3. Annette Myers says:

    I was delighted to tour the new Shrimping Museum on Saturday afternoon, November 29, 2014 with my sister Dr. Barbara McCollough Shuler, former Dade County Commissioner, along with another relative from Palm Beach County. I view the museum as a welcomed addition to the waterfront, as Fernandina is the established birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. I also feel honored that my father Captain “Mac” McCollough was included in the museum’s exhibit, being the only African American to ever enter the shrimp boat races and to win a shrimp boat race.

    I also viewed your coverage of the ribbon cutting submitted by Suanne Thamm.
    Kudos to the Amelia Island Museum of History, the Deonas family, the Burbanks and everyone who had a hand in the development of the Shrimping Museum endeavor.

    Annette McCollough Myers
    Daughter of Capt. Mac
    Retired Nassau County Educator
    Local American Beach Author & Historian

  4. Peggy Bulger says:

    Fernandina Beach has a real treasure in the Amelia Island Museum of History and their dedicated staff. This new museum is a wonderful welcome center for tourists and residents to learn of our city’s unique heritage. Kudos go out to AIMH and all of the local scholars and tradition-bearers who made this happen!

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