I may have to hide Robert Smith’s books from my husband. While I enjoy visiting maritime museums, I’m not sure I enjoy visiting them with Jerry. He doesn’t do anything unless he can be extremely thorough. A museum is not the sort of place to take a guy like that. So what will I do if Jerry learns about a terrific source listing more than 620 maritime museums, lighthouses, and related museums in North America?

Robert Smith’s three-volume set is a treasure. It lists museums by name, by location, and by type or specialty. And it provides a brief description of each. You say you’re interested in whaling museums, for example? There are 19 listed in Volume 1, which includes the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada as far south as Pennsylvania, including all of Ontario and part of the Great Lakes. Volume 2 includes the southern stretches of the Atlantic Coast and states adjoining the Gulf Coast. Volume 3 includes the Pacific Coast and inland through the remainder of the Great Lakes. (Even with 620 sites listed in three volumes, these guides do not yet include them all. Robert’s looking for input from others to tell him of museums he’s missed.)

My hat’s off to Robert Smith, who has also authored two West Coast cruising guides, by the way. But he seems to be the modest sort. On the back covers of his books, he says, “Credit must go to all those dedicated individuals who have committed time, talent, and financial resources for preservation of the maritime adventure.” He’s so right. Get the books and go thank them yourself. Just don’t take Jerry with you.

Smith’s Guide to Maritime Museums of North America By Robert Smith (1st Books, 2002; Three Volumes)