Submitted by Westport Winery

The Roberts family, founders of Westport Winery and Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, plan to build the world’s first International Mermaid Museum. The focus will be on marine life and merfolk mythology, to honor their years on and below the water, and to create a fun and engaging learning environment. The museum will reside on the property of their renowned Westport Winery Garden Resort located halfway between Aberdeen and Westport in Washington State.

You may be asking yourself, what is a Mermaid Museum? The goal of the museum is to create a learning center that will offer education to all ages about the underwater world by wrapping it in merfolk mythology. The museum will be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. The non-profit group intends to develop a curriculum with an educational emphasis on teaching children to write their own myth or create merfolk art. And finally, they would like to fund scholarships for local students who do not “fit” into the traditional college model. Specifically, awarding scholarships to students who need assistance in schooling that will allow them to work in the local maritime industry.

The non-profit’s board of directors includes a “gossip” of mermaids: Kim Roberts, Carrie Roberts and Jamie Walsh of Aberdeen; Karyl Vasereno, Jill Jacobs and Brook Maples of Westport; Deb Blake of Cosmopolis; Susan Conniry of Ocean Shores; Dodie Brogan of Elma; Jane Hewitt of Montesano; and Laurie Bowman of South Bend.

There is no other museum in the world dedicated to mermaids. So why did the Roberts family decide to create the first?

Kim Roberts, who created the concept for the museum, says it has a clear mission. “First and foremost, we want to teach our local students and visitors about the world’s unique ocean ecology from seashore to the seafloor. We think that offering this through the mythology of merfolk will allow the museum to engage all ages in a fun and unique manner. When you look around the world, virtually all seafaring nations have mermaid lore. This is one of those things that unites different cultures.”

Blain Roberts, who partners with his wife Kim, and their adult children Carrie and Dana in the businesses, said, “Since we opened the winery in 2008, we have donated a portion of the proceeds from each wine to different local charities. These contributions total over $500,000. As we launch Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, we see an opportunity to create a legacy gift to our community.”

Winery general manager Carrie Roberts said, “As I was growing up my parents owned the largest charter scuba diving business in Hawaii. I had a special opportunity not afforded to most kids to learn from them about the undersea world. At the same time, Disney produced The Little Mermaid, so I was doubly captivated.”

Both Blain and Kim were US Coast Guard licensed boat captains. Plus, Blain was a renown underwater photographer and Kim, as an architect, also owned an art gallery. Kim said, “We think we can bring in the lore of mermaids along with art, music, literature, and even the hoaxes, to create a captivating experience.”

The family said the idea started when one of their lifetime friends decided to mail his entire shell collection to them. Among the rarities was a shell called a mermaid’s comb. Blain told the rest of the family about the shell’s nature of not sinking in the sediment because of its spines. Kim said, “While he was talking, I was imagining a mermaid running it through her hair because of its evocative name.” This became the inspiration for creating a museum.

Inquiries about making financial donations or items to include in the display are encouraged by emailing info@mermaidmuseum.org.

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