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Heritage in the Hands of the Historians: ExplorOcean Gifts 50,000+ Historical Photographs to Sherman Library & Gardens in Unique Nonprofit-to-Nonprofit Donation Event

Stewardship of Historical Photography Celebrating Southern California's Coastal Communities Gifted From One Nonprofit to Another in a Ceremony Hosted Saturday, May 17

NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/28/14 -- ExplorOcean, a premiere nonprofit ocean literacy center in Newport Beach, today announced that it will be donating two collections of photography comprised of more than 50,000 photographs of historical Newport Beach and other southern California coastal communities to Sherman Library & Gardens, a nonprofit research library and horticultural retreat in Corona del Mar. The donation will be celebrated during a reception on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Sherman Library & Gardens location at 2647 East Coast Hwy, Corona del Mar, Calif. 92625 from 2 to 4:00 p.m.

"With an eye toward the future, ExplorOcean is proud to be one of Orange County's premiere cultural destinations and a key contributor to the revitalization of the historical Newport Beach harbor area dedicated to inspiring and educating the next generation of ocean explorers," says Tom Pollack, CEO of ExplorOcean. "We are glad to partner with an organization like Sherman Library & Gardens to serve as a custodian of these unique historical images -- preserving them for future generations and sharing them with the public at large for the enjoyment and greater good of our community."

Sherman Library intends to preserve the photographs -- which include black and white images from the Wilbur C. Sawyer Collection and the Neal Beckner Collection -- making them available for public viewing, both at their facilities and, eventually, online.

"These photographs not only cover most of the 20th century but represent an incredibly rich resource for those interested in the history of Newport Beach and the surrounding coastal communities," says Paul Wormser, Sherman Library director. "We are very appreciative of this generous gift and committed to preserving and showcasing this rare collection of Southern California history for the entire community to appreciate."

The Wilbur C. Sawyer (1877-1954) Photography Collection spans from 1912 to 1953 and contains approximately 47,000 photographs. Sawyer was a Vermont-born civil engineer who relocated to Los Angeles in 1910. As a passionate photographer with a particular love for maritime subjects, Sawyer captured early photographs of Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Barbara and inland areas. The donation is hailed as amongst the greatest collections of recreational boating photographs in Southern California.

The Neal Beckner (1909-1989) Collection consists of more than 5,000 photographs spanning the years of 1947 to 1977. Beckner was a commercial photographer who specialized in maritime subjects. His offices were located in Costa Mesa and Balboa Island. The collection includes photos of yachts, regattas and races, such as the Trans-Pacific Honolulu race.

The donation will be celebrated with a reception beginning at 2 p.m. with light refreshments, select images on display and jazz music from the soulful Dave Aguiar Trio. A formal program will follow the reception from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Brief remarks will be given by Pollack and Wormser, as well as Newport Beach's mayor Rush N. Hill II. Guests are invited to enjoy the musical entertainment and gardens until 4p.m. Space is limited. To request an invitation, contact [email protected] or call (949) 673-1880.

ABOUT EXPLOROCEAN: ExplorOcean, America's premiere ocean literacy center, offers a world-class ocean literacy platform and cultural destination where visitors can immerse themselves in interactive exhibitions devised to develop the curious explorer within. ExplorOcean's high quality programs which are grounded in the seven principles of ocean literacy and in STEM content include single day camps, multi-day camps, classes, monthly lectures and an impressive underwater robotics program developed by the director of education, Dr. Wendy Marshall. Headquartered on the Balboa Peninsula between the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the bustling Newport Harbor, the center's nearly two-acre location is the perfect place for people of all ages to learn about the seven seas. For more information about ExplorOcean, please visit www.ExplorOcean.org.

Editor's Note: Media is invited to attend the event, preview the collections and tour the ExplorOcean and Sherman Gardens & Library facilities. Onsite and/or advance interview opportunities are available, and can be scheduled by contacting Nicole Allison at (949) 733-8679 or by emailing [email protected].

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