Spring LogLine




On Behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Texas Maritime Museum, it is with great sadness and humbleness we dedicate the spring 2014 LogLine to Jo Beth Hill. Jo Beth died peacefully in her home in Rockport on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Many adjectives and expressions have described Jo Beth in the past, but one of the most accurate is “visionary.” Jo Beth befriended me in 2000 with a clear vision of creating a cookbook for the Museum as a fundraiser in perpetuity. With inspiration and dedication, she collected a large group of individuals including family and friends. The cookbook would reflect the artistry, history, and flavors of the Texas coast and would be dedicated to the founders, loyal patrons and spirited volunteers of the Texas Maritime Museum. Thus, the MariThyme Treasures was born. For three years, Jo Beth worked with the cookbook committee of 22 ladies and over 200 contributors to go to press to produce the final product. Favorite Recipes Press in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Junior League Cookbooks of America, published the 271-page hardbound book. Ten plus years later, Jo’s vision continues…

The cookbook was awarded the prestigious Tabasco Community Cookbook Award in 2003. MariThyme Treasures was showcased on the live national broadcast of NBC’s Today Show with Willard Scott. Additionally, Coastal Living Magazine chose the cookbook for a feature article in the October 2005 issue. The book was displayed for sale in seven prominent locations in addition to the Museum’s gift shop and sales continue today in two of the seven locations. It is appropriate at this time to thank these local businesses for their continued support and sale of the MariThyme Treasures Cookbook. Thank you, Melody Walkinshaw, owner of Comforts of Home and Brett Bohn, Key Allegro Real Estate. Your continued support of the cookbook allows the Museum to further Jo Beth’s vision.

Jo Beth’s vision was not complete, however, until she created and developed the “Great Bowls of Fire!” Gumbo Cook-off, a fund-raising event held in her home to support the production of the MariThyme Treasures cookbook. Once again, Jo Beth led a committee of dedicated volunteers, celebrity chefs and judges and happy cookers to raise the funds needed to produce the cookbook. The event was a huge success and the required funds of $60,000 were earned to go to press. Jo Beth reached far and wide to include all of her Texan friends in the project. I hope you will enjoy perusing the photos of the 4 different Gumbo Cook-offs she hosted in her lovely home.

Jo Beth was a beautiful hostess in the perfect setting with a vision of gracious philanthropic giving. Over the last decade so many individuals have contributed their talents, skills, time, and funds to assist these aforementioned projects. At this writing, I know we all want to say THANK YOU to Jo Beth for bringing us together with the opportunity to create and develop these magnificent outcomes.

In addition to the visionary side of Jo Beth, she was well connected to many of Texas’ most prominent individuals. In 1999 and again in 2003, the Museum was graced with the presence of Lady Bird Johnson, her close colleague and friend. Jo Beth, unselfishly shared her friendships with Rockport, which she loved dearly. As Ann Uhr, her daughter, so eloquently stated, “She loved the land and the water. She was a true TEXAS lady who could go from ball gowns to blue jeans.”

In August of 2005, the Museum was awarded accreditation through the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C. Jo was the first person to offer her congratulations to the accreditation team. She offered to host an elegant reception for the Museum’s board of trustees, patrons, and volunteers who made the three-year project successful.

Jo was a unique and loyal patron of so many Aransas County non-profit organizations. The Texas Maritime Museum is especially blessed to know the true sense of fairness Jo Beth possessed when assisting people, especially children – on every possible occasion and sometimes randomly, but always a welcome surprise. Your legacy, dear Jo Beth will be the gracious giving of a selfless visionary.

fellow Dallas-ite and friend of Jo Beth’s, Mrs. Margaret McDermott stated in a letter to the Museum, “How fortunate we are to call you Friend!’  We thank you for making our lives brighter, happier and for fulfilling visions with such grace and charm. I will not forget your favorite author, Clare Boothe Luce and one of her famous quotes, ”No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.”

Farewell, Friend, with total respect, God Speed!

Memorials Given in Honor of Jo Beth Hill


Photo's of Jo Beth Hill

L-R: Bill Noble, Kathy Noble, Jo Beth & friends.


CEO's Report: La Belle Ball

The 18th Annual Silver La Belle Ball was held on Friday, December 6th 2013 “Celebrating 25 Years of Texas Maritime History.” We are grateful to the co-chairs, Tiffanie Hoover and Sally Reynolds, board members of the Museum, and their entire committee for the successful outcome of the event. Honoring Dr. Jim Bruseth, professional archaeologist and his wife, Toni Turner, author and past Development  Officer for the Texas Historical Commission; as well as Mr. John L. Nau, III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., and his wife, Bobbie.

invitefrontThese individuals were selected for their major contributions to the excavation of the La Belle Ship in 1995 at Matagorda Bay. Dr. Bruseth was the Head of the Archeology division for the Texas Historical Commission and the project director of the excavation which is recognized as one of the most important shipwreck recoveries in the world. He and Toni wrote the book, “From a Watery Grave” recounting the discovery and process of the excavation. John Nau was the Commissioner of the Texas Historical Commission in 1995 under George W. Bush, Governor for the state of Texas and secured the funds for the project.

Each of these individuals provided the strength and tenacity to follow the vision of completion for the one million artifacts and the hull of the ship being preserved in the nautical archaeological laboratory at Texas A&M today. A special temporary exhibition on the La Belle will be on display at the Bob Bullock Museum with four of the nautical artifacts the Texas Maritime Museum has housed for the past 11 years, beginning October 23, 2014. The French National Maritime Museum in Paris France is planning to open a La Belle exhibit curated by them on October 3, 2015. The Texas Maritime Museum is proud to be an integral part of this ongoing historical project and will keep our members/patrons apprised of the progress.

We are pleased to continue the partnership with the Texas Historical Commission and the Bob Bullock to educate the public about the famous La ” Dr. Bruseth, Toni, John and Bobbie were honored with the 2013 La Belle Award in a special presentation by J.P. Bryan, Jr. colleague of both couples and a historic preservationists. Letters of commendation were presented as well from Senator John Cornyn.

A “special thank you” to Tiffanie/Sally’s committee which included:

  • Underwriting Chairs-Jo Beth Hill and Elinor & Ben Donnell
  • Big Board Auction-Gayle Rogers
  • Decorating-Tiffanie Hoover,Candy McDaniel, Melinda Mills
  • Invitations – Rose Williams
  • Publicity – Leta Laymon


  • Deana & Paul Strunk
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Candy & Dudley McDaniel
  • Gloria & Fully Clingman
  • Sally Huff
  • Robert J. Hewitt
  • First Victoria Bank
  • Chevron
  • H-E-B

The theme of Silver La Belle Ball was carried throughout the evening with beautiful silver decorations, twinkling diamond shaped LED lights and magnificent garlands, wreaths, and Christmas trees. The evening’s entertainment included the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet performing a portion of the Nutcracker before a three-course dinner was served by the Rockport Country Club wait staff. Chef Jaime presented a delectable dinner with champagne flowing. Glenn Garcia’s band, the Bay Rock Orchestra, provided the music for dancing. The Big Board auction items provided an opportunity for the patrons to bid on adventures and items collected by Gayle Rogers and her committee.

We appreciate each and every individual who attended the 18th Annual Silver La Belle Ball and we are grateful for the underwriting support, donations, contributions and attendance. I hope you will enjoy the array of photos taken during the Ball!

19th Annual Mah Jongg Tournament: The Year of the Horse

Celebrating the 25th Silver Anniversary of the Texas Maritime Museum 1989-2014 Thursday, January 30, 2014 the Museum hosted a reception for the tournament players. to meet and greet their fellow competitors as a kick-off for the two day event. Eighty-five ladies enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and the wine Republic National Distributing provided for the event. Brett Boeck, District Manager in Corpus is to be commended for Republic’s donation. Co-chairs, Helen Goldate and Debbie Kahanek greet the players; as well as Nancy Melcher, creator of the event and past president/board member.

1st-4th place winners Caroline Bernardy, Kay Stanley, Barbara O’Connor, and Sally Pher.

Winners of the 19th Annual Tournament were L-R: 3rd Caroline Bernardy, 4th Kay Stanley, Tie fro 1st/2nd Barbara O’Connor, and Sally Pher.

On Friday, the committee seated 132 players, the largest ever in the 19-year history. We are appreciative of the cooperation of the Rockport Country Club and their assistance, including Chef Jaime for the two days of lunches served. We want to extend a special THANK YOU to WELLS FARGO and Gayle Rogers for the underwriting sponsorship for the lunches. A new opportunity for early bird registration next year is to join the Museum as a member and receive a 10% discount. We will provide this opportunity throughout the year.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 20th Annual Mah Jongg Tournament, YEAR OF THE GOAT, January 30th-31st, 2015.

The 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration for the Museum

As the Official Maritime Museum for the State of Texas, the board of trustees and staff are pleased to celebrate the 25th Silver Anniversary this year and especially on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

1989-BoardOn Saturday, July 1, 1989, the Texas Maritime Museum opened to the public after completing a dream that was a decade plus old by Mr. Bill Christian and his colleagues. A list of the honorary Board of Directors, Executive Committee and 1989 Board of Directors is printed in this edition for your remembrance of the occasion. The architects for the Museum from San Antonio, O’Neill, Conrad, Oppelt designed the structure to look like a ship. The Museum opened with an important slate of individuals presiding. We are happy to announce some of those individuals will be able to join us for the 25th Silver Anniversary reception at the Museum on Tuesday evening, July 1, 2014. The Honorable Senator Ken Armbrister provided the keynote July 1, 1989 and will be present in July this year. A day of celebration will be held at the Museum with no admission charged and a spirit of community giving.

As we prepare for this milestone occasion we are grateful to the many women and men who have provided services to the Museum through their talent, time, skills, and valuable interest. As a 501(c)3 organization and a volunteer community we are indebted to your contribution. As we celebrate 25 years of Texas Maritime History and review the important events which have occurred, we encourage you to visit our website, www.texasmaritimemuseum.org and visit us soon. Come SEA what we have completed in the last 25 years to further the mission of educating and exciting the general public about Texas maritime history. As an accredited museum through the American Alliance of Museums in Washington, D.C. we continue to nurture the common goal of excellence in all categories. Please join us in celebrating the entire year of 2014!

18th Annual Patron Party for the Wine Festival

On Thursday, May 22, 2014, the grounds of the Museum will be sizzling and swaying to the stage sounds of the scintillating and sexy sirens of song, ROTEL and the HOT TOMATOES. A stage show performing the sounds of 1989-2014 while remembering the oldies and silvery ones. Celebrating 25 years with “Beyond the Silver SEAS” will be the theme of the seated dinner party with an open bar wine reception, Black Tie Affairs catering from San Antonio and an array of Big Board/Silent Auction items. Please mark your calendars for the largest fundraising event we hold each year and attend the Rockport Festival of Wine, Memorial Day Weekend – May 24th-25th on the grounds of the TEXAS MARITIME MUSEUM. Visit www.texasfestivalofwines.com or call 361-729-1271 or 1-866-729-AHOY for more information. If you are interested in purchasing a patron party table or tickets, please contact our offices today! Invitations will be mailed in April!


silver bells

Silver Bells

Dr. Jim Bruseth and his wife, Toni Turner.

Dr. Jim Bruseth and his
wife, Toni Turner.

Friday, December 6, 2013 the Rockport Country Club was shining like polished silver as the 18th Annual Belle Ball commenced. The event was the kickoff for the Texas Maritime Museum’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations throughout 2014. Guests were welcomed to an elegant setting featuring black and silver accents highlighting the Silver Anniversary theme.The Strackbein family instrumental ensemble provided ambient music to welcome attendees for the evening. Once again, the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, under the direction of Nancy Sulik, performed excerpts from The Nutcracker. The Bay Rock Orchestra provided entertainment for the rest of the evening with their musical repertoire featuring songs from the big band era to current dance hits. Chef Jaime Garcia and the Rockport Country Club catered the event providing palate pleasing items of steak and shrimp, buttermilk mashed potatoes and sautéed asparagus. Dinner was complete with eggnog cheesecake featuring an edible “25” signifying the Museum’s Anniversary.

Belle Ball Co-Chairs Tiffanie Hoover and Sally Reynolds greet the guests.

Belle Ball Co-Chairs Tiffanie Hoover and Sally Reynolds greet the guests.

This year’s LaBelle Award was presented to two couples valuable in protecting Texas’ maritime history, and ardent supporters of the Museum and our mission by J.P. Bryan, Jr. of Houston. Dr. Jim Bruseth and Toni Turner were instrumental in the excavation, recovery, preservation, and education of the Texas Maritime Museum’s gallery centerpiece – the LaBelle. Jim was the Chief Archaeologist for Texas Historical Commission’s excavation of the LaBelle in 1995-96. Toni was quite involved in the financing aspect of the project, pulling together the funding through local and national foundations and government entities. Because of their efforts, visitors are able to learn more about pre-Texas history and why the Spanish decided to buffer their territory with Anglo empresarios.

Museum CEO, Kathy Roberts-Douglass and George Taggart.

Museum CEO, Kathy Roberts-Douglass and George Taggart.

John and Bobbie Nau are noted philanthropists and historical preservationists. As President and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, LP, the largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the world, John has had an opportunity to be involved in many organizations. As a governor-appointed Chairman of the Texas Historical Commission, he worked with Dr. Bruseth on securing the necessary support and enthusiasm for the massive undertaking of the excavation and preservation of the LaBelle. The Nau’s have also financially supported several museum projects including the Maritime Collections & Education Center opened in 2012.

The Belle Ball is the Black Tie kickoff to the holiday season.

The Belle Ball is the
Black Tie kickoff to the
holiday season.

Thank you to all of the Underwriters, Committee Members, and faithful patrons for your support during all aspects of the Belle Ball. It would not have been a success without you! Mark your calendars for the 19th annual Ball to be held on Friday, December 5, 2014.

Pictures from the 18th Annual Belle Ball

(Scroll over the images for picture captions)




Pirate Pete’s Birthday Bash

pp4Every year, on the Saturday nearest International Talk like a Pirate Day, the Texas Maritime Museum opens its doors to swashbucklers of all ages for Pirate Pete’s Annual Birthday Bash. On Saturday, September 21st between 5:00 and 6:30 pm, with the overwhelming help of the Rockport-Fulton NJROTC, buccaneers received their pirate name, added their scars and tattoos, dressed in their pirate finery complete with hook hand and proceeded to the festivities. After practicing their sword wielding, walking the plank and attacking each other’s ships with cannonballs (the foam kind of course!) and many more fun games and activities the party came to an end on the highest note: birthday cake and a bag of loot! Cap’n Pete had a blast, Good Samaritans loved having his presents to redistribute into the community, and we all hope his favorite little buccaneers will make it back for his next birthday bash on September 20, 2014!

Halloween on the Harbor

hoh6On Saturday, October 26th, 5:00-8:00 PM visitors found themselves surrounded by a traditional Transylvanian themed Halloween on the Harbor back at the Texas Maritime Museum. Together with our partners, the Aransas County Public Library, Fulton Mansion and Rockport Center for the Arts, spooky fun could be found all over the grounds. Between the Visitors were able to carve their own custom pumpkin from the First Learning Tree Pumpkin Patchgames, bouncy house, maze, and costume contest participants could then sit to carve a pumpkin from First Learning Tree Pumpkin Patch. Halloween on the Harbor continues to be a community favorite with an estimated 1,000+ people participating in this safe and spooktacular event!

The Museum grounds were overflowing with 1000+ visitors for the annual Halloween on the Harbor.

The Texas Maritime Museum with its partners “Thank” all of the volunteers who helped make this event so successful, especially the RFHS NJROTC and Cash Advance America for donating the bouncy house. We appreciate all of the generous candy donations to help continue such a huge event. To the community, “Thank you, for your support!”

Start prepping now for the Zombie Apocalypse of 2014 on Saturday, October 25th!

Many volunteer hours helped create a trip through the woods into Frankenstein's lair.Kimber Clark & Board Member, Robin Rice enjoying the costume contest. You can pick your friends & your nose!

Love Your Community

valwshpFor the second year now the partners (Texas Maritime Museum, Fulton Mansion and Rockport Center for the Arts but sadly minus the ACPL this time) have come together in another combined free community event. On February 8th we hosted a Valentine themed workshop between 1 & 3 PM, where kids of all ages were welcome to stop by the Fulton Mansion’s Visitor Center to make Victorian Valentines, Sailor’s Valentines, and clay heart magnets to give to their sweethearts. A group of around 50 children and even a few adults took advantage of our six valentine stations, bowls of valentine candy, and sappy love songs to stir the artistic juices for each personalized and unique valentine.

Family Discovery Days


A new program this year is our Family Discovery Days! Held in the Education Center on the last Saturday of every other month, visitors experience a little more nautical fun along with their museum visit with a room full of themed crafts and activities available to conquer together. Past Family Discovery Day themes include: early explorers and life aboard in September 2013, families discovered offshore oil and gas in November 2013, and then followed the beacons of light to new discoveries of lighthouses in January 2014. Our next Family Discovery Day will be held on Saturday, March 29th. Take advantage of your family membership and stop by to enjoy the provided self guided games and activities and discover more maritime history together!

Seafaring Saga Movie Nights

Movie nights have been a hit this year and it’s not too late to join the fun! On the second Thursday night of the month at 7:00 PM the TMM drops down its wide screen and pulls out the popcorn machine for a FREE movie experience. Our 2014 theme is In the Navy Now! Popcorn and drinks are available for $1.00 each. The 2014 series will continue with:

  • March 13, 2013 Up the Creek (1958)
  • April 10, 2013 Mister Roberts (1955)
  • May 8, 2013 Caine Mutiny (1954)

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series 2013

Our most popular and longest running program, bring your lunch or stop by for an enlightening midday break, Mondays at Noon between January and March. We appreciate Nancy Melcher, Larry & Barbara Ward and Ron Hoover RV & Marine for sponsoring this much loved lecture series.

  • March 3, 2014 World renowned photographer John Martell will return with a presentation on the story behind the picture.
  • March 10, 2013 No Lecture Scheduled. Sailor’s Holiday Spring Break Camp.
  • March 17, 2013 From the Bayside Historical Society, historian Herndon Williams will share historic tales from his new book featuring700 years of stories from the Texas Frontier.
  • March 24, 2013 For fishing enthusiasts everywhere…it’s time for the annual Perry R. Bass Memorial Sports Fishing Wall of Fame induction ceremony. Presented by Phil Barnes, Curator, Texas Maritime Museum.

Sailor’s Holiday Spring Break Camp

March 10-14, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

$75.00 Registration Fee, for Grades Pre-K to 5th

Looking for something fun and educational to do during Spring Break? s Holiday and enjoy a weeklong camp at the Texas Maritime Museum. Campers will go on a history hunt, digging up the past and experiencing it as archaeologists do, through objects. Campers will find objects and begin to understand basic archaeology: how each object tells a story and how each story can come together to create a bigger picture of s lives. Contact: Katelin Koon, Education Director at 361-729-1271 or educator@texasmaritimemuseum.org


Fancy in the Museum Party

ThankyouRobinsonscollageEvery year the Education Department offers a birthday party to be auctioned off at our major fundraisers, either a fancy princess party or a swashbuckling pirate experience. At the 2013 Patron Party the purchasers, lacking little princesses in their lives, had another idea in mind. Together with board members Dudley McDaniel and Robin Rice, principal of ACISD Live Oak Elementary School, 20 deserving little girls were selected by lottery to attend the Museum party. it was the best day The princesses got into costume with ribbon crowns, glittery temporary tattoos, and nail stickers.

After getting all dressed up they enjoyed games and cupcake decorating before heading back to school to show off their glitz, glamour and prizes. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Michael Robinson for creating an unforgettable experience for your 20 Rockport princesses.


Guns Along the Coast

Since July, 1845 the Unites States navy has had an active and vibrant role in Texas’ maritime history. The first American flag to fly on Texas soil occurred on San Jose Island when Zachary Taylor’s troops were sent to Corpus Christi for training. Since then, the Texas coast has been the site of naval battles during the Civil War, ship construction during both World Wars, protection of ports from the U-boat threat, and the training of Naval Aviators.

The latest exhibit,‘‘From the Banks of the Sabine to the Rio Grande: A U.S. Naval Presence Since 1845” opened October 22, 2013. It explores this history through photo panels, models, and artifacts. Included in the artifacts are a Civil War-era 9-inch Dalghren shell and canister shot recovered from the USS Westfield. The Westfield was the flagship of the blockade squadron in Galveston, and was blown up before capture.

Make sure you come by and see this exhibit in the near future!


Canister shot and a 9-inch Dahlgren shell from the USS Westfield are on loan from the Navy and were conserved by the Conservation Research Lab at Texas A&M. Local  modeler, Jack Niederkorn constructed the Dahlgren model.


One of the more interesting Civil War battles was the Second Battle of Sabine Pass where 40 Irish immigrants under the command of Lt. Dick Dowling repelled 5-6000 U.S. Troops in several transports and gunboats.

20_21The training of Naval Aviators has been ongoing along the middle Texas coast since just prior to World War II. Former President, George H.W. Bush became the youngest Naval Aviator when he received Ensign wings prior to his 19th birthday at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

Digging Deeper

20140131_181452_resized_14500 feet deep to be exact! On Friday, January 31, 2014 the Texas Maritime Museum hosted a lecture for over 80 of our valuable members featuring Texas State Marine Archaeologist Amy Borgens. Amy gave a very informative and exciting presentation on three Texas shipwrecks including the most recent, Monterrey shipwrecks discovered in 4500 feet of water off the Texas-Louisiana coast.

20140131_175530_resizedShe started the talk with discussion of two shipwrecks closer to the Coastal Bend area. The Mardi Gras Shipwreck excavation was performed in response working on sonar mapping for offshore drilling. They had discovered the ship and removed items in the process, thereby undermining true archaeological techniques used to acquire the most information. The second shipwreck discussed was one near Pass Cavallo.

Finally, she was able to provide some information regarding the recently discovered Monterrey shipwrecks. Information regarding these shipwrecks is still minimal while they examine the artifacts brought up to try and determine date and origin. Amy was very enthusiastic in her presentation and everyone could sense the pride, and passion she has for her job.

20140131_165003_resizedPrior to the lecture, guests experienced wonderful appetizers provided by the Rockport-Fulton High School Culinary Class under the direction of Laci Johnson. We would like to thank everyone for their support, and welcome the new members who came to this event!