The origin of the Texas Maritime Museum began in the '70s at Rockport's Annual Seafair Festival where maritime enthusiasts gathered and brought out their personal collections of mounted fish, fishing equipment and motors. It began as a community wide project spear-headed by a few dedicated members. The doors to the Texas Maritime Museum opened on July 1, 1989.
In 1987 the Texas Legislature named the Texas Maritime Museum the official Maritime Museum of the State of Texas, re-stated in perpetuity in 2007. The Museum is a designated 501(c)3 non-profit, however, no state or federal funds are collected, but rely solely on the generosity of patrons and members as well as four annual fundraisers.