BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | It has been a stormy ride for the South Street Seaport Museum, headquartered at 12 Fulton St. with several outposts on Water St. and a fleet of historic ships anchored at Pier 16. After the 45-year-old museum nearly closed under its previous management, Susan Henshaw Jones, director of the Museum of the City of New York and president of the South Street Seaport Museum, and her staff were well on their way to resurrecting the South Street Seaport Museum’s attendance and finances when Superstorm Sandy struck, causing $22 million in damage.
But nothing has deterred Henshaw Jones so far. On Friday, Dec. 14, the museum will reopen with two new exhibits and two exhibits that were in place before Sandy.
The elevators and escalators are still not working. The electrical system is running from generators. Heat is spotty, but these are minor inconveniences next to the fact that the doors will once again be open.
“In large part, we are re-opening as a statement of faith in our mission and community, “Henshaw Jones said.
Since Superstorm Sandy shut the museum down on Oct. 29, a fundraising campaign has elicited more than $100,000 in donations — a small part of what the museum needs, but a testament to the many people who hold it dear and believe that it is an essential part of the historic Seaport district.
The museum reopens with “A Fisherman’s Dream: Folk Art by Mario Sanchez and Street Shots NYC”, a presentation of contemporary New York City street photography. They will join ongoing special exhibitions Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions, organized by the American Folk Art Museum, and Romancing New York: Watercolors by Frederick Brosen.
The Museum continues to seek contributions to fully restore the damage done by Superstorm Sandy. Donations can be made on the South Street Seaport Museum’s website (www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org).