The mission of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association is to “bring maritime history to life” in cooperation with the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. We seek to expand public knowledge of United States maritime history, with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area and the West Coast. Our Age of Sail living history program is a premiere field-trip experience for schoolchildren in grades four through eight from throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. The Age of Sail program is rooted in the belief that children’s most valuable growing and learning occurs when they are actively engaged intellectually, emotionally, and practically. Utilizing the historic tall ships at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the program offers participating schoolchildren a glimpse into the realities of a sailor’s life at the turn of the Nineteenth century.
Age of Sail is designed to challenge school children by providing them with opportunities to experience historically accurate activities necessary to the operation of ships like the 1886 square-rigged Balclutha. Participation in the Age of Sail is further enhanced because it is an overnight program, with school children experiencing sleeping on the docked Balclutha and deepening their understanding by taking on roles including night watch.
Age of Sail programs are staffed with trained experiential education instructors who function as ship’s officers and remain in costume and “in character” for the duration of the program.
Each year, Age of Sail and Explorers serve more than 10,000 schoolchildren from the Bay Area and around California, including more than 2,000 underserved children who participate in the program free of charge through the Association’s student aid program.