The museum for several years has mounted model ship exhibits arranged around a common theme (last year for example, it was the ships of World War II). The Custom House is also the home of the Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club, which meets there monthly.
For members and their guests — as well as prospective newcomers to the Newburyport Maritime Society fold, the nonprofit group is hosting First Friday evening socials featuring conversation, discovery and refreshments. June's First Friday event on June 4 will feature a presentation on the U.S. Coast Guard surfmen, who will highlight their life-saving mission and heritage dating back to the earliest lifeboat stations, including those on Plum Island.
While exploring Newburyport's maritime history is the paramount mission of the society, there are other events on the calendar that will appeal to wider audiences.
The society plans a "duty free" yard sale in early October, followed by its Oct. 9 Chowder Fest. Restaurants from around the region — not just Newburyport — will put their recipes on the line to win the title Best Chowder of 2010, as judged by the crowd in attendance.
The display and auction of handmade wreaths has become an annual holiday tradition. The Custom House will once again be decorated with an array of wreaths created by local artisans and businesses. The silent auction for the wreaths will culminate on Dec. 11, coinciding with the society's annual Holiday House Tour, a self-guided tour of special homes decorated for the holidays.
IF YOU GO
What: Custom House Maritime Museum.
When: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays and holiday Mondays, noon to 4 p.m. Museum docent tours available Friday through Sunday, 1 to 2 p.m.
Where: 25 Water St., Newburyport.
How: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, active-duty military and children under 12 free. Annual memberships available for $40. Call 978-462-8681or visit www.customhousemaritimemuseum.org.