Long viewed as a quaintly New England museum, Mystic Seaport redefined itself as The Museum of America and the Sea in the 1990s. The construction of the Freedom Schooner Amistad in the Preservation Shipyard in 1998-2000 was an acclaimed part of this more inclusive mission. That same year, the Museum opened its signature exhibit, “Voyages: Stories of America and the Sea.”
- Mystic Seaport’s first Elderhostel program.
- 150th anniversary of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan.
- “Tale of a Whaler,” a participatory theatrical play, is presented throughout the summer, providing a fun and imaginative way to learn about the life of a whaler.
- After review of its mission and opportunities, Mystic Seaport expands thematic focus to become The Museum of America and the Sea.
- 5 October — Steamboat Sabino designated a National Historic Landmark.
- November — Mystic Seaport registers www.mystic.org as World Wide Web address on the Internet (current address is www.mysticseaport.org).
- 4 November — Fishing schooner L.A. Dunton designated a National Historic Landmark.
- Completion of plans for the American Maritime Education and Research Center (AMERC) a 150,000-square-foot collections area in the Rossie Mill. Plans include a boat hall for storage and access to the Museum’s watercraft collection.
- State of Connecticut awards Mystic Seaport and the Connecticut Afro American Historical Society a grant to develop plans for a recreation of the schooner Amistad.
- 12 October – Emma C. Berry designated a National Historic Landmark.
- 10 November — Cuban refugee boat Analuisa arrives at Mystic Seaport for display in the future “Voyages: Stories of America and the Sea” exhibit.
- Mystic Seaport receives its 10-year re-accreditation from the American Association of Museums, one of only 41 museums nationwide to be accredited three times.
- Scholars from around the country meet at Mystic Seaport for a conference that addresses for the first time in this country the issues of “Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America.”
- Mystic Seaport and several African American organizations in Connecticut incorporate Amistad America, Inc., a nonprofit corporation to plan the construction and operation of the Freedom Schooner Amistad.
- WoodenBoat Show held at the Museum for the first time.
- March — Mystic Seaport serves as a movie set in scenes from Steven Spielberg’s epic retelling of the Amistad story.
- June – Roann, one of the last wooden eastern-rig draggers, joins the Museum’s fleet of historic vessels.
- 8 March – Amistad’s 2-ton, 50-foot keel, made of South American purpleheart, is laid in a moving international celebration signaling the start of construction of the vessel.
- July – America and the Sea: A Maritime History is published.
- The new Galley restaurant opens alongside the Museum’s Village Green.
- New York Yacht Club Station 10 taken to New York Yacht Club’s Newport, RI, facility after 50 years on loan at Mystic Seaport.