Laurence Shallenberger’s life-long interest in the sea, boats and airplanes lead him to the museum. Following military service and a long career with Exxon, Laurence docked at the maritime museum. Since joining the crew nine years ago, Laurence has become one of our most sought after docents. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the maritime stories at HM are a real treat to every visitor!

How did you become involved with the Houston Maritime Museum?

I can?t remember how I found the Houston MaritimeMuseum, but I came by one day for a tour. This was when Jim (our founder) was still here and I got my tour from him. He was just fascinating, full of stories and a lifetime of maritime experience. In 2008 I called the museum to see if they needed any volunteers, I began working on the library and the rest is history.

What is your favorite thing about being a docent?

The people. I look forward to meeting interesting visitors and learning from them. I also enjoy the people who work at the museum. Throughout the years, it has been the people ? both the visitors and staff ? who have kept me coming back over the years

What is your favorite model in the museum and why?

That’s tough, but I would say that one of my favorites is the USS Arizona. This is of course because of its historical significance. Also, the smaller model is the more difficult it is for the modeler to build. That makes the museum’s model of Arizona an impressive one.

If you could tell someone one thing about the museum in order to encourage them to visit, what would it be?

I would talk about the importance of maritime history. It is the foundation of civilization. Maritime development has moved from the creation of the paddle to the sail ? all thousands of years B.C. Look at the development of the clipper ship ? the finest sailing ship designed by man ? all the way up to the creation of modern naval ships. All of those major changes came about within a century, all because people wanted to get something somewhere faster. It’s incredible.

Excerpt taken from The Anchor Newsletter, April 2017.

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