Chartered as a nonprofit entity in 1985 as Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association, Albacore Park Submarine and Museum—as it is better known—recently welcomed Patricia Violette as executive director.
With more than twenty years experience in nonprofit management and museum leadership, including stints at Shirley-Eustis Historic House in Boston and Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH among others, Violette expressed enthusiasm at her latest position.
“I’ve always had a military kinship with the Navy, as my father served his 20 years during WWII and beyond,” she said. “I’ve had experience with historic houses and culturally centric museums and began to search out a more unique experience, and here I am at a submarine museum.”
In looking ahead to the museum’s future, she said she cannot help but look back at the unique story behind the USS Albacore Submarine (AGSS 569). An experimental research vessel launched in 1953 during the Cold War era, the USS Albacore was intended to use size, shape and battery power to increase functional speeds while submerged.
“No weaponry of any kind was ever furnished on-board,” she explained. “Most of our visitors are stunned to learn that the Albacore never held torpedoes.”
Expressing the hope that the museum exceeds last year’s visitation numbers—42,000, which she described as “amazing”—Violette said she is also excited to be part of the NH Heritage Museum Trail.
“We cannot do this all by ourselves,” she said. “Being part of a larger network to discuss ideas for event planning and collaborations as well as kicking around fundamental policy issues that face nonprofit sites is vital to the survival of our organizations.”
Comprised of 17 museums, the NH Heritage Museum Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions with stops in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth, and Wolfeboro.
According to Violette, there is tremendous potential in The Trail.
“I am very interested in the creation of a Heritage Museum Site Muster where we would all gather for an all day retreat,” she said. “We could discuss various strategies for increasing visitation, PR, social media, programming, collaboration and statewide opportunities for a possible passbook program that could run all summer.”
Albacore Park opens for the 2019 season on March 3. To learn more, visit ussalbacore.org.