The Sitka Maritime Heritage Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Sitka, Alaska. We are dedicated to preserving Sitka's rich maritime history and promoting knowledge of maritime heritage and skills.
We formed in 1999 as part of an effort to rescue the Merlin, a schooner built in the 1880s that had sunk at Whale Bay. We collected funds to have the Merlin raised, and then turned the vessel over to a care organization in Washington state.
SMHS has since made its primary focus the restoration of the historic Japonski Island Boathouse as a Maritime Heritage Center.
SMHS Staff and Board Members
Executive Director Ashia Lane
Vice President Joe D'Arienzo
President Rebecca Poulson
Secretary/Treasurer Mike Litman
We don't have a physical office, but you can reach us quickly by email:
Or try traditional mail: SMHS PO Box 2153 Sitka, AK 99835
Volunteers replace a Boathouse floor joist.
The Sitka Maritime Heritage Society has had a presence in the community for more than a decade.
During that time we have slowly developed our educational mission by collecting photographs and oral histories, and putting on annual maritime-themed lectures. Meanwhile, volunteers have worked tirelessly on the Japonski Island Boathouse project, logging thousands of hours painting, doing foundation work and cataloging items in the Boathouse.
Volunteers also have obtained grants and donations to hire an architect to draw plans for the Boathouse renovation and ultimately to fund the first stages of major construction. We have a beautiful new roof, and are hoping to install a ground source heat pump for the building wings this year.
The Boathouse shortly after being obtained by the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society in 2004.
SMHS volunteer Joanna Perensovich dishes up black cod on Alaska Day.
mail: SMHS PO Box 2153 Sitka, Alaska 99835
All current site photographs are by James Poulson or Ashia Lane unless otherwise noted. Please provide proper credit if borrowing images.