For more than 60 years, San Francisco Maritime National Park Association has worked to bring maritime history to life for visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area. When the Association was founded in 1950 as the San Francisco Maritime Museum Association, its primary mission was the operation of a museum in the landmark art deco building in Aquatic Park at the foot of Polk Street. In 1954 the Association acquired the tall ship Balclutha, renovated it and opened it for public tours, thereby expanding the concept of what the maritime museum might become. The Association has played an integral role over the past four decades in the development of Victorian Park and Hyde Street Pier as historical sites. Initially a part of the California State Park system and later a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the area became a distinct National Historical Park in 1989. These goals have been accomplished through the strong Leadership of our Board of Trustees and through generous grants and donor support.
Today, the Association supports San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and independently operates the World War II submarine museum and memorial USS Pampanito. Each year, the Association’s unique Age of Sail education programs at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park serve more than 10,000 schoolchildren. The Association also produces several fundraising events during the year, including its annual Fourth of July fireworks viewing and dinner aboard the Balcluthaand Fleet Week viewing party atop the Maritime Museum building at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park; and the annual Maritime Heritage Awards and Gala.