Workshop on the Water

Independence Seaport Museum's boat shop, Workshop on the Water, is dedicated to the skills and traditions of wooden boat building and sailing in the Delaware Valley and the New Jersey shore. Visitors to the Seaport Museum can interact with the boat builders as they work on various projects. The Workshop on the Water builds and restores privately-owned vessels as well as maintaining the Museum's own boat collection.


Metal Forging Winter: January 25-26, 2020; Spring: April 25 (sold out!) - 26, 2020

Throughout history, forging has been one of the cornerstones of human development. As it relates to boat and ship construction, the smith and their forge play a key role in the smallest nail and the broadest axe. The ability to forge hardware and cutting tools has taken us from forming a basic log canoe with crude stone tools and fire to the most complex British ship of the line. Join us in Winter and Spring 2020 for a daylong introduction to an age-old trade where you will gain the knowledge and skill necessary to forge metal on your own and take home your own creation. Materials and necessary tools are included.

Boatbuilding 101 February 8-9 & 15-16, 2020

Learn the traditional methods of how to build a wooden boat in Boatbuilding 101. The area's finest teaching craftspeople will show you the skills of lofting, mold making, steam bending, stem carving, planking techniques, and more, equipping each student with the knowledge and ability to build a wooden boat on their own.  

One of the only adult boatbuilding education programs in the Philadelphia area, the class takes place in our renowned Workshop on the Water over the course of four separate sessions. Maximum capacity of up to 8 students. A one-year individual Independence Seaport Museum Membership is included with all Boatbuilding 101 registrations. 

Intro to Metal Casting Stay tuned for Spring 2020 dates!

Unearth the basics of how to cast objects from various types of metals in Metal Casting 101 at Independence Seaport Museum. Students will create their own pattern from scratch, pour molten metal, and take home their very own piece of hardware. The course will focus mostly on the use of casting as hardware for boats but skills can be applied in many ways to other functions. Maximum capacity of up to 6 students.  

Metal Casting 101 takes place over the course of one weekend in our Workshop on the Water.   


Volunteers at the workshop work alongside our professional crew maintaining, restoring and building traditional boats. We have work for all skill levels and are open seven days a week. Call 215-413-8638 or email to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Want to volunteer in our Workshop on the Water? Contact Dave Dormond, Assistant Director of Workshop on the Water, at or 215-413-8685.