Membership and Support

Virginia sailing on the Kennebec

The mission of our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Maine’s First Ship, is to use our reconstruction of the 1607 pinnace Virginia to immerse the public in an exploration of the region’s early history, craftsmanship, and relationships, and their impact on our community and environment today.

We are stewards of the recently built and launched 17th-century-style wooden pinnace Virginia as well as the 19th-century railroad building known as the Bath Freight Shed. Using these historic cultural resources, along with a talented pool of nearly 100 active Volunteers, we Explore History, Celebrate Ingenuity, and Foster Community in Maine’s Midcoast.

2024 Spring Membership Appeal

John Bradford, Jane Stevens, Rich Cromwell (1997)

The magic of Virginia continues to grow in our historic City of Ships. On April 25th, 1997, Denis Thoet, “Bev” Bevilacqua, Richard Cromwell, and Jane Stevens signed the Articles of Incorporation for Virginia Project, Inc, what we all know now as Maine’s First Ship. Twenty-five years later, under the eyes of shipwright Rob Stevens and board chair Orman Hines, MFS launched the reconstruction of the Pinnace Virginia into the Kennebec, even though rigging and construction were ongoing.

In 2023, Virginia made historic port visits to Boothbay Harbor, Colonial Pemaquid, and Squirrel Island in addition to carrying a limited number of the long-imagined paying passengers and high school students. Yet in the spring of 2024, Virginia remains a vessel “under construction.”

You can play a significant role in helping Virginia realize the dream of our founders – our patriarchs and matriarchs who believed in building a ship when others did not. This spring we will raise the funds needed to meet final construction and certification expenses such as a haul out for USCG inspection, permitted electrical panels and wires, carpentry elements such as permanent hatches, and a public head.

Join the crewe by becming a member

Bath has a proud and well-known shipbuilding history, and we are located in one of the most influential nautical miles in Maine. In the heart of historic downtown Bath with the Maine Maritime Museum and Bath Iron Works just downriver, Virginia draws visitors to the waterfront, benefitting the city and local business.

Believing in our mission and our people, foundations, businesses, and individuals have entrusted us with their support including:

Virginia on launch day at her wharf (Wayne Ladd)

You can donate and become a member online using the Donate button below, or by calling the office. You can Join the Crewe using cash, card, or check in-person at the Jane Stevens Visitor Center, or you can use the mailing address below.

You can also donate stock. Contact for more details.

Send a check by mail to:
Maine’s First Ship
PO Box 231
Bath ME 04530

January 2013
October 2017
June 2022