Special exhibit on loan from Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA.
Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor
For sailors, the phrase “blood is thicker than water” did not apply. Instead, it was the call of the sea and the drop of ink that bound the American sailor to a fraternity that fortified their spirits against the harsh conditions faced out on the unforgiving ocean.
Situated on the Maurice River, a National Wild and Scenic River, and surrounded by wetlands in Historic Bivalve, New Jersey, the Delaware Bay Museum invites you to explore our facility in the Oyster Shipping Sheds & Wharves.
Admission: Recommended donation $7 per adult, $5 for seniors and veterans, no donation for children! Free with your sail ticket. Free with your BCB or Council of American Maritime Museums membership.
New Hours: Friday – Open Oct 15, 2022 during the NJ Oyster Festival, 12 – 7 pm.
Accessibility: Designated car and van parking, restroom, ramps, flat surfaces and an elevator to the second floor. Also, tactile displays closed caption orientation films, and audio listening stations.
School groups: Welcomed! We offer a variety of educational programs.
Begin your visit in the main entrance where a museum volunteer or staff member will help acquaint you to the museum and campus.
- Step back in time and immerse yourself in the heyday of the oyster industry in the 1920s
- View our orientation film to understand how and why the building was built
- Use iPad kiosks to hear stories from people who were there
- Check out exhibits with original artifacts and fun interactive activities designed for children and adults
- Enjoy spending time at our waterfront campus
When visiting be sure to check out:
What to look for when visiting:
- Notice the various business signs, these were actual family businesses which operated on the site and whose descendants still live in the area.
- Make sure you see Sheds 23 & 24 which were restored to the 1920s!
- Notice the alignment of the train boxcar (now the restrooms) to the alleyway leading to the docks. The alleyways were designed and built to match the opening of the box cars so that oysters could efficiently be moved from the docks and loaded inside. Each day nearly a hundred box cars transported oysters to markets north from Bivalve.
- From the docks, take note of Cape May Salt Oyster Company’s Floating Upwelling System (FLUPSY) floating on the river. This building houses over one million baby oysters (aka spat), currently being grown for planting later in the bay.
- Exterior Interpretive Signage. This signage allows our visitors to self-tour the exterior of the Shipping Sheds to see great historic photographs and learn about the Sheds, railroad, ecology, the Maurice River and Bivalve. This feature of the Museum is funded in part by New Jersey Cultural Trust.
- Our neighbors include Surfside Foods (Clams), Haase’s Crabs, Bivalve Packing and Rutgers Haskins Shellfish Laboratory, Cape May Salt and Elder Point Oysters.
The Archives & Research Library is available by appointment. The Library houses primary source documents, ledgers, photographs, local history books, and reference files, all available to students, authors, and researchers.
Research assistance is available:
- local history questions
- order historic photographs
Looking for something specific? Search our database of photographs and documents.
Contact the Museum Curator at email@example.com or call 856.785.2060 x109 for research inquiries.
Research 1h $35
All Photographs $25 usage fee + shipping
8”x10” $10 archival photo paper
11”x14” $20 archival photo paper
14”x17” $25 archival photo paper
20”x30” $50 archival photo paper
Photocopies $1 per page
Oral History Program
Another way to find out about the recent past is to talk to people who were there. Oral History is the technique for gathering such recollections: the collecting of any individual’s spoken memories of his/her life, of people he has known, and events he has witnessed or participated in.
The Bayshore Center at Bivalve’s Oral History program is dedicated to preserving the oral history and culture of New Jersey’s Bayshore region by saving for posterity the oral histories and material culture connected with the Bayshore region, by creating a repository of recordings and data that can be used for research, by preserving, treasuring and celebrating the environment, history and culture of the Bayshore region and by sharing the heritage of the Bayshore region today and with future generations through program related activities serving visitors, students and scholars.
Would you be interested in being a narrator?
Are you interested in sharing your memories or stories that were told to you by family members about the Bayshore Region?
We are looking to collect oral histories relating to:
A. African American’s role in the oyster industry, local business, local farming and everyday family life along the Delaware Bayshore.
B. Residents and descendants of the populations who made their living in the Shipping Sheds. Storekeepers, restaurant owners, post office workers, oyster company owners, oyster workers, and railroad personnel.
C. Oyster schooner, CASHIER, collecting any oral recordings from workers, owners, and other business people who had direct dealings with the CASHIER.
D. Family, business people, citizens of the Delaware Bayshore that had involvement or memories of the Schooner AJ MEERWALD.
E. Lenni Lenape story in the Delaware Bayshore area.
F. Women of the Delaware Bayshore relating to their roles as wives, boat owners, business women, landladies, fisherwomen, storeowners, landlords, etc.
Would you be interested in becoming one of interviewers?
Oral history research is more than simply recording a conversation. It takes time and work to do the job fully and well; but using the techniques of oral history, we can create a document of great value to the Bayshore Center at Bivalve and others who come after us.
Good news! You already have the basic skills for doing oral history. These come from life-long experience in the processes of human interaction. The oral history interview builds on this basic social competence. Then we fine tune the skill level with a formal training. We also provide you with all necessary recording equipment and supplies. Plus, we do the research and provide you with a complete contact list of prospective narrators for you to interview. We also encourage our interviewers to provide us with potential narrators, as an example, your own parents, grandparents, friends or neighbors who may meet our criteria.
Contact the Museum Curator at 856.785.2060 x109 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Voices from the Fisheries Database is a NOAA’s central repository for consolidating, archiving, and disseminating oral history interviews related to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in the United States and its territories.
We are in the process of uploading our oral history interviews. Under “Collection Name” scroll down to “New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore”, then click on “Search” Click here to listen
Oral history interviews have been conducted on the following listed subjects. To obtain additional information regarding these interviews please contact the museum curator at email@example.com or 856.785.2060 x109
- Basket Makers
- Bivalve, NJ
- Burcham Farm memories
- Captains & crew
- Chillie McConnell, Illustrator
- Decoy carving
- Dividing Creek, NJ
- Dorchester, NJ
- Fortescue, NJ
- From A Woman’s Point of View
- Heislerville, NJ
- Henderson Family
- Hunting and trapping in the marsh
- Italian-Americans in Port Norris
- Marine Police
- MAUDE BELL boat
- Maurice River, NJ
- Mauricetown, NJ
- Mixture of Stories on DelBay Area
- Morie Sand Plant
- MSX and Dermo
- Oyster Industry
- Oyster Shipping Sheds
- Oyster Shucking
- Oystermen Stories
- Peterson Packing Company
- Phillips Oyster Company
- Planters Packing Co
- Port Norris businesses
- Port Norris Oyster Company
- Port Norris, NJ
- Rail Bird Hunting
- Recreation on the Bay
- Reed & Reed Oyster Company
- Riggin & Riggin
- Rutgers Haskin Lab
- Salt Hay Farmers
- Salt Hay Rope Making
- Schooner BELLE
- Schooner Cashier
- Shad Fisherman
- Shell Fishing
- Shellpile, NJ
- Shipbuilding & Ship Repair
- South Jerseyians and the Sea
- Speakeasies on the Bay
- Stokes-Schubert Machine Shop
- The Great Delaware Bay Schooner Race
- Underground Railroad
- World War II
Bayshore Center at Bivalve
Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center
ORAL HISTORY LEAD SHEET – Please complete the information below in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s Date: _____________________ Dates Available: _____________________________________
How did you hear about this project: _______________________________________________________
DESCRIPTION OF NARRATOR’S (your or family’s) STORY OR PERSONAL HISTORY:
Delaware Bay Watermen’s Memorial
Learn more about the Delaware Bay Watermen’s Memorial while you’re at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve. This is an exciting initiative between BCB, the Port Norris Historical Society and the McBride Family Oyster Enterprise.