News & Updates: Port Bureau News: March/April 2020

Houston Maritime Museum Announces Name Change to Better Reflect Community Mission

Thursday, April 30, 2020  
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Houston Maritime Museum is celebrating its  20th  year by embarking on a new  voyage. The museum will now be known as the Houston Maritime Education Center and Museum. As Houston has become the center for maritime activity in the nation, the museum is expanding to become a resource for the maritime industry, as well as serving as an educational hub connecting the industry with the community.


The logical step of incorporating a maritime center to the museum’s mission better reflects its role as an important educational destination for public and industry. Houston Maritime offers a unique platform to support educational programs and business development related to the booming maritime supply chain industry that connects Houston to the rest of the world.


The Houston Maritime Museum, dubbed “Houston’s best Kept Secret”, has been in existence since it was founded by Jim Manzolillo in 1999 with his private collection of models and artifacts spanning the history of the maritime world. Manzolillo, a retired naval architect and Merchant Mariner, created the museum to fulfill a need to tell Houston’s maritime story and important role in the nautical world.


In January of 2019, the museum moved from its original location to an interim space in a renovated location just east of downtown at the aptly named intersection of Navigation Boulevard and Canal Street. Houston Maritime plans to move to its final berth at East River, on the banks of Buffalo Bayou on the eastern edge of downtown, in the next several years.


During the last 12-month period, the museum has created   a complete ecosystem of education programs, beginning with early childhood education programs that include STEM and STEAM based curriculum. In addition, Houston Maritime has created an alliance with NAMEPA (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) to manage all environmental educational outreach and will eventually house their Gulf Coast headquarters in its new building. Additional education programs continue through middle and high school, including a comprehensive Home School program, all the way through college supported by the University of Houston’s College of Technology Supply Chain and Logistics program, and most recently an alliance with Rice University to present professional level programs for industry.


Emphasizing the important role of Houston Maritime, Leslie Bowlin, Houston Maritime CEO said, “Post this pandemic, there will be fewer institutions left standing to provide this important function to the public, and funds for visiting these types of institutions will most likely not be available to many. To help mitigate this, upon re-opening we plan to offer admission to the museum as well as maritime education and environmental programs at no cost to schools, organizations, the business community and general public.”


For more information, contact Leslie Bowlin at 713.225.1688, via email at or visit them at