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Meet: Lelde Schmitz, Board Member

Lelde Lelde Schmitz has always had a special connection to all things maritime, having grown up on the riverbank of one of the longest and busiest rivers in Europe, the Rhein. In 1980, when she and her husband, Heinrich, had to decide whether to accept an appointment in Washington D.C., the Chesapeake Bay came into play. Going sailing would be no issue!

Lelde and Heinrich were overwhelmed by the beauty of the Bay. They spent a great deal of time cruising, and soon discovered the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. It was love at first sight. “Over the years, we saw the Museum grounds expand, and new buildings being filled with fascinating exhibitions on work and play on the Bay. The collections of historic vessels kept growing, and the creation of a stretch of natural shoreline became a much copied initiative in the region.”

Lelde cherishes how well the Museum “has pulled the story of the Bay together,” which has made guests not only return but want to become a part of the story. “The Museum’s many treasures bring life on and around the Bay—past and present—into focus: its vessels and nautical tools, its decoys, and so much more.”  Museum guests find more than beautiful grounds, exhibitions, and boats. Wonderful options for learning more about the Bay and celebrating its traditions are offered by taking lectures, seminars, workshops—for all ages—and participating in the many popular annual events, including OysterFest and Waterman’s Day.

Elected to the Board of Governors in 2013, Lelde is excited to be a part of the big changes in the coming years. “President Kristen Greenaway is setting the Museum on a strong course for the future, and Heinrich and I strongly support her plans for a rejuvenated campus and more interactive options for Museum guests.”

Reaching this goal is no small feat, given the size of the Bay and its ecological and economic importance.  “I believe in the motto ‘the more you know, the more you can and want to do.’ Therefore, I am enthusiastic about the present, new, and expanded learning and hands-on programs.” Lelde especially sees the value of CBMM’s education programs as a way to connect with the surrounding environment.

“The further success of CBMM calls for a broad effort. Museum staff and board, together with the Museum’s large corps of dedicated volunteers, are speeding ahead at full force. Collaboration with the business community is being intensified, also via the new Friends Board. In short, CBMM is progressing on a dynamic path, with President Greenaway’s drive and vision sparking enthusiasm among many groups who are signing on to join this path.”

CBMM would like to thank Lelde for her time and dedication to the Museum!