New London Maritime Society

The Mission of the New London Maritime Society (NLMS) is to protect and preserve New London's U.S. Custom House, the Frank L. McGuire Library, three area lighthouses, and Long Island Sound, and to promote, interpret, and celebrate the rich maritime life & history of the port of New London and the surrounding region through museum exhibitions, educational programs, and preservation initiatives.

The Custom House Maritime Museum/New London Maritime Society (NLMS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and receives no regular funding from any organization. We rely entirely on donations and the money raised from visitors to the Museum. There is one staff member; the museum is run by a dedicated band of volunteers who give generously of their time. 

NLMS history

With possible demolition looming, Impassioned New Londoners organized to preserve their local U.S. Custom House and, in 1983, established the New London Maritime Society (NLMS), repurposing the building as the Custom House Maritime Museum. 

New London’s 1833 US Custom House was built at the height of the City’s maritime power, when New London was the second-greatest whaling port in the world. City leaders had petitioned the U.S. Treasury to build them ‘a gem on the waterfront’. Architect Robert Mills, best-known for his design of the U.S. national Washington Monument, provided just that.

Housed in the 1833 Robert Mills building at 150 Bank Street, today we are a nonprofit historic site. The Custom House is a lively maritime museum, preservation, and educational organization. Since 2009, NLMS also has taken on stewardship of the three major beacons leading into this historic port: New London Harbor Light — established in 1760 and still an active aid to navigation, it is the first and the tallest lighthouse built on Long Island Sound; Race Rock Light Station, off Fishers Island, New York, built by local legend Captain T.A. Scott and lit in 1878; and New London Ledge Light, first lit in New London harbor, in 1909.

The museum actively promotes, protects and celebrates the maritime history and present-day life of the port of New London and the surrounding region through exhibitions in the museum and online, through educational programs that reach out to the community and through the resources available to researchers in the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library.
150 Bank Street
New London, CT 06320