IYRS to join forces with museum

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Yacht Restoration School and The Museum of Yachting have taken a first step toward a convergence, they reported in a recent statement.

Following over a year of discussions, the boards of both organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines a structure for bringing the two Newport nonprofits together. IYRS and the museum said they’re currently fine-tuning the specifics of their convergence with a goal toward having a final agreement in place later this summer.

“Many great schools are connected to a museum or cultural center. While a school may be focused on educating students and advancing research, a museum can take that knowledge to a wider public,” said John Mecray, marine artist and co-founding trustee of both IYRS and The Museum of Yachting. “I see IYRS and The Museum working together in a number of ways: we can coordinate restorations and exhibitions, or target projects and displays. With the right planning and creativity, we can make yachting’s colorful history come alive — both for those who live here, and for the many people who visit Newport.”

A framework for how to converge the two groups is outlined in the memorandum of understanding. Once a final agreement has been reached, IYRS President Terry Nathan will also serve as president of The Museum of Yachting, and SallyAnne Santos will continue in her current role as creative director with the museum. Unification of the respective boards will serve both groups, they stated.

IYRS occupies a 2.5-acre waterfront campus on Thames Street, with a marina, two historic buildings, and a collection of classic watercraft donated to the school for restoration; the school is also the site of the restoration of the 1885 133-foot Coronet. The Museum of Yachting is located on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park, where it is the home of a collection of America’s Cup artifacts, the Single Handed Sailors Hall of Fame, a collection of fine classic yachts, and a library of yachting films, documents, books, trophies, plans and other materials.

Each organization plans to remain based at its current home. But they will coordinate on programs, exhibitions, attractions, and events together, and will best utilize their respective facilities in these plans. The two organizations said they recognize the unique opportunity of the restoration of the Aquidneck mill building on the IYRS campus and the prospect of the MoY’s presence there once the restoration is completed.

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