Dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Andrew A. Hendricks, M.D., remembers when he first became interested in his family history. It was in fourth grade, when a teacher's assignment turned into a lifelong passion. Learning about the Dutch influence on U.S. history fueled the dermatologist's desire to spread the word.
"At the time, my father told me that we are Dutch, but we have lived for hundreds of years in the state of New Jersey. That was all the information he had," Dr. Hendricks says.
Learning about the Dutch influence fueled the dermatologist's desire to spread the word. "I discovered that the Dutch role had been overlooked in textbooks," he says. "I wondered how to get people interested - how could I make Dutch influence come to life?"
Today, the 85-footer sails along the East Coast, serving as a mobile museum dedicated to Dutch-American history. The ship has even appeared in a couple of Disney movies, including the 1994 movie "Squanto: A Warrior's Tale."
Tens of thousand of children and adults have been aboard the ship at different maritime festivals along the Hudson, Delaware and Connecticut rivers over the past 20 years. And Dutch and American students, usually from 13 to 18 years old, have crewed the Half Moon on many of her voyages.
To help drive scholarly research about Dutch influence, Dr. Hendricks started a research awards program in 1988. The annual Hendricks Research Award program has a $5,000-a-year endowed award for manuscripts delving into Dutch-American history.
Knighted for his devotion