THE HOWARD J. MORRISON MARITIME GALLERY
A Collection of Ship Models built by Gerard Greco
The MASSIE MARITIME GALLERY was inaugurated in August 2015 with its main attraction of international ship models handmade by Marine Corporal M. Gerard Greco. These were his life's work and hobby and were donated by his son's Stephen and Jerry Greco after his passing.
The collection consists of a variety of historic ships and boats that range from an ancient Viking ship and Roman galley, several 17th-18th century battleships from Europe, 19th-century American vessels, and some humble fishing boats. The gallery was re-dedicated as THE HOWARD J. MORRISON JR. MARITIME GALLERY with its present name in 2019, named after the late entrepreneur and Massie alumni. They donated funds to exhibit the ship models made by his dear friend, Gerard Greco.
THE SAVANNAH RIVER
The sprawling Floor Graphic is a rendering of an 1855 U.S. Coast Survey nautical chart (topography by H.I. Whiting, hydrography by J.N. Maffit) of the Savannah River, Georgia. The city of Savannah is shown featuring its renowned grid plan. Also featured are some Barrier-Islands, including Tybee, Hutchinson, Elba, Jones, and Turtle. The small numbers on the chart are water depths or soundings which are measured in feet.
Gerard Greco's collection of ships is elegantly displayed, on either side of the Savannah River floor graphic. Hands-on, interactive exhibits teach younger audiences how the Georgia Port's Authority functions, how the cotton gin works to de-seed cotton, and about naval stores. Accompanying interpretative panels provide historical insight into events that took place along the banks of the river.
Rice was the major cash crop in the region during the mid-18th century and led to enslaved workers being brought here from West-Africa, for the first time. With the perfection of the modern cotton gin by Eli Whitney on Mulberry Grove Plantation – cotton became “king" in the South, and export to European ports made it the dominant industry until the Civil War (1861-1865).
During the war, the U.S. Army blockaded the Savannah River. Fort Jackson and Fort Pulaski were attacked until they surrendered and Sherman's March to the Sea meant there were 60,000 soldiers from Atlanta on the way to Savannah. Ultimately, the end of the Civil War saw an end to enslavement and 4 MILLION ENSLAVED people were OFFICIALLY FREED.