Afloat on a retrofitted railroad barge once used to ferry goods from New Jersey railroad terminals to New York City, the Waterfront Museum fosters an understanding of New York Harbor as a historic waterway and a former conduit for commerce and commuters as well as recreation.

Founded in 1986 as the Hudson Waterfront Museum, the museum operated at various ports of call. The museum relocated to a permanent home in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 1994. After a three-year drydock project to repair the barge and protect it from further damage from wood-eating shipworms which began in 2002, the Waterfront Museum now calls Red Hook's Pier 44 (off Conover Street) its homeport.

Foreign-language Programs
A French-speaking interpreter is available upon advance notice to visitors.

Programs for Seniors
A tour, talk or show can be tailored to a senior audience.


The museum offers low and no-cost educational and entertainment programs aboard its floating classroom and showboat theater.

Students learn about the importance of natural habitats and the history of commerce, particularly why some waterfronts became obsolete; the impact such obsolescence had on everyday life; and the status of everyday life on the waterfront today, particularly as it touches on issues of pollution, abandoned piers and other infrastructure. Also offered are a range of science lessons, including information about tides, currents, buoyancy, indigenous wildlife, geography and so on.

The museum provides pre-visit materials for students and lesson plans for teachers.