The TALL SHIPS® GALVESTON festival increased the foundation’s, and city’s visibility on a regional, statewide and national level. The event had close ties to the mission of GHF and, for many attendees, offered the first introduction to tall ships in general and the maritime history of Galveston and the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA.
“The Tall Ships Festival brought thousands of people to the island to share in our maritime heritage,” states Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “This award for the hard work of our volunteers, board, and staff recognizes how important this event was for us and lays a solid foundation for the next festival in 2021.”
In addition to Port of the Year, Texas Seaport Museum also was recognized for their Sail Training Program. This program is one of the most far-reaching programs in its industry. The program features volunteers who put in over 30,000 hours per year training to sail the National Historic Landmark. These volunteers, who travel from across the region, include people from all walks of life who give their time onboard with tasks from general upkeep to training for the annual day sails.
ABOUT THE 1877 TALL SHIP ELISSA
Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, from a scrap yard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a seaport and active waterfront.
ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization established in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that includes advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life, and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.