History of the Foundation

In 1997, a handful of educators from Maryland’s Eastern Shore joined together to create an educational resource that would help students better understand and appreciate the natural treasure that is the Chesapeake Bay.  Four years later, after tremendous community effort, the schooner SULTANA was launched into the waters of the Chester River.  A full-scale reproduction of a vessel that sailed the Chesapeake in the years before the American Revolution, SULTANA now voyages as the “Schoolship of the Chesapeake.”  Since her launch in 2001, tens-of-thousands of students and teachers have sailed on SULTANA’s decks learning about the history, culture, and natural environment of North America’s largest estuary.

In the years since SULTANA’S launch, the Sultana Education Foundation, the non-profit organization that owns and operates SULTANA, has continued to grow by developing and implementing educational programs that further its core mission of teaching students about the Chesapeake Bay.  The Foundation was instrumental in the establishment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail and has partnered with school systems across the region to develop curricula and teacher training programs that benefit thousands of students and teachers each year.

Today, the Sultana Education Foundation offers a diverse variety of history and science-based field programs serving students and teachers throughout Maryland and beyond. The Foundation’s core programs are certified by the Maryland State Department of Education and the organization regularly works with state, federal, and independent partners including the United States Department of Education, the National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Sultana is the only two-time winner of the National Maritime Historical Society’s prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education.