Mariners’ Museum grows online & global outreach during pandemic

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Like many businesses, when the pandemic began, the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News closed and had to move online to reach out to the community, but in doing so something pretty incredible happened.

“Our reach has expanded exponentially, I mean all over the world,” said Lauren Furey, manager of visitor engagement at the Mariners’ Museum.

She says this move into the virtual world has actually given some of their work a boost.

“We have like a 300% increase in our web presence and our blog reading.”

Furey sites Maritime Mondays as a big success. In that program she reads a book to children online and gets them involved in everything the museum has to offer.

“I’m pulling in things from our collection, so if it’s an Egyptian story like this one, I bring in Egyptian items from our collection to show the kids and talk about it, talk about what a collection is.”

During one Maritime Monday event, Furey read the book “My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World.”

“This lady kind of commented that she was from Russia and we just kind of assumed that she was just a military spouse, or in the military herself in this area doing training or something, and she’s like ‘No. I’m in Kurgan, Russia.’ and we ended up talking during the program and she said, ‘That picture of Russia is exactly like my grandmother’s bed and I am crying now watching this.'”

The woman told Furey she teaches at an English language school in Russia. Now, every Monday, her students listen to Furey read, and they join in the conversation from the other side of the world!

“Our name is getting out there and the community is learning more about us as well as the whole world and that’s just, you know, awesome.”

In even more great news for the Mariners’ Museum, it will re-open its doors to the public Memorial Day weekend! To learn more about the re-opening, or Maritime Mondays, click here.

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