Nine years after the Museum of Maritime and Seafood Industry in Biloxi, Miss., was damaged by Hurricane Katrina’s 30-foot tidal surge, the museum reopened its doors to the public in a brand new, H3-designed building on August 1.
The $7 million, 19,580-sf museum houses 10,000 sf of exhibits and gallery spaces, meeting rooms, a production shop, administrative areas, and storage. It is a final milestone representing six years of effort by the city, the museum, and the H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture design team.
Leading the project was Biloxi-native Daria Pizzetta, H3 Partner-in-Charge. “Everything I knew as a child is gone,” Pizzetta says, whose grandmother donated much of the family’s maritime memorabilia to the museum just weeks before the hurricane. “This project [was] more than designing a museum, it’s rebuilding the heritage of my Gulf Coast hometown,” he said.
The materials used in the design of the museum are locally sourced and make reference to the Point Cadet neighborhood. The design itself mimics the seafood factories that were once housed in the neighborhood, incorporating a white clapboard patter, corrugated tin roofs, and open front porches. The building’s porch structures, as well as interior wood detailing, make reference to coastal wooden pier structures.
The building’s elevation meets Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements for constructing within a Coastal A flood plain.
A museum's premier artifact is the sloop Nydia, built in Biloxi in 1896. Nydia measures 30 feet long and 40 feet high, and is the focal point of the gallery that was designed around it. The use of glass as the primary enclosure of the main gallery creates a “ship in a bottle” effect, letting the Nydia be visible from the exterior.