Part of my job at the park board is to share the Galveston story with members of the media. While many are familiar with our 32 miles of beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, others are surprised to learn about Galveston’s historic significance — especially the fact that the island was a major immigration port to the United States, second to New York’s Ellis Island.

Beginning Nov. 13, Galveston residents and visitors will have the opportunity to live that immigration experience at Galveston Historical Foundation’s new “Ship To Shore” attraction at the Galveston Historic Seaport at Pier 22.

“Ship To Shore captures the reality of travel to Galveston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. “It brings to life the experiences of real people with raw human stories of survival and challenge that has not been captured before now.”

Here’s how it works. Visitors to the attraction will receive a card that reveals the identity of a passenger on his or her way to America via Galveston Island. They will then see what it’s like to make that voyage, including sights and even smells. Hands-on exercises enhance the experience as well as a digital membership card that personalizes the experience to the participant, giving an authentic and new story each time they visit.

The new attraction was developed in conjunction with New Zealand’s Gibson Group. Gibson Group is known for highly innovative experiences worldwide, including El Paso’s DIGIE Wall, Houston’s Latino cARTographies and Vaeggen in Copenhagen.

Ship To Shore will be a big part of Visit Galveston’s marketing and promotional efforts to bring attention to Galveston’s historic assets. From museums, grand mansions, Victorian architecture and more, market research indicates these sites are of great interest to travelers. According to a recent study from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, cultural tourists spend more and stay longer.

“Visit Galveston is always looking for ways to attract engaged visitors to the island — those who explore the diversity of offerings and become connected to the community,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody said. “We’re excited to bring a new attraction into the mix that will help us in our mission and will allow residents and visitors alike to learn more about Galveston’s rich history.”

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations director for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.



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(1) comment

Bennie Robinson

How about an update on the Babes Beach improvement progress!

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