Under a new president and director, Mystic Seaport entered its ninth decade with a focus on the iconic Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest existing commercial vessel and the only surviving wooden whaleship from the heroic Age of Sail. While continuing its efforts to engage a broad audience through exhibits and programs, the Museum planned to highlight the Morgan’s restoration with a commemorative 38th Voyage to her historic homeport of New Bedford, and to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to pay tribute to the whales in 2014.
- January — Building America’s Canals exhibit opens in Mallory Building.
- Former Seamen’s Inne restaurant reopens as Latitude 41°.
- May — Tugs! exhibit opens in R. J. Schaefer Building, with tugboat Kingston II set up on land at Museum’s south entrance.
- Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor exhibit opens in Mallory Building.
- Beginning of the Online Learning Community Project at Mystic Seaport for teachers, parents, students, and homeschoolers.
- Brilliant Equipment Fund, which helps with upkeep of schooner Brilliant, renamed in honor of Captain George H. Moffett, Jr., Brilliant’s skipper from 1984 to 2006.
- Restoring a Past, Charting a Future: An Artistic Discovery of America’s Whaling Legacy by Dalvero Academy, a ground-breaking, artistic interpretation of the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan opens in Stillman Building, to run through the summer of 2013.
- Mystic Seaport participates in collaborative exhibit and companion book, The Rockets’ Red Glare: Connecticut and the War of 1812.
- June — 21st Annual WoodenBoat Show held at Mystic Seaport.
- November — Adventurous Use of the Sea: The Cruising Club of America exhibit opens in G. W. Blunt White Building.
- New whaleboats for Charles W. Morgan constructed by Alexandria Seaport Foundation (VA), the Apprenticeshop (ME), Gannon & Benjamin Boatyard (MA), Great Lakes Boat Building School (MI), Independence Seaport Museum (PA), Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (VT), Lowell’s Boat Shop (MA), New Bedford Whaling Museum/Beetle Boat Shop (MA), Rocking the Boat (NY), and Wooden Boat Factory (PA).
- The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces The Rockets’ Red Glare: Connecticut and the War of 1812 the recipient of an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards.
- 28-30 June — 22nd Annual WoodenBoat Show held at Mystic Seaport.
- 21 July — After a nearly five-year restoration, the Charles W. Morgan is launched on the 172 anniversary of her initial launch.
- September — J. Barclay Collins II is announced the new chairman of the Museum’s board of trustees.
- November – The Museum launches its new education website, Mystic Seaport for Educators. The interactive site brings the resources of Mystic Seaport out of the Museum and into classrooms and homes across the country.
- January – The Museum’s William P. Stephens Award is presented to distinguished yachtsman and author, John Rousmaniere.
- May –The new documentary film “The Charles W. Morgan: America’s Last Wooden Whaling Ship” airs on PBS.
- May – The Charles W. Morgan embarks on an unprecedented 38th Voyage to historic ports on the New England coast. With Captain Richard “Kip” Files at the helm, the Morgan visits New London, Conn., Newport, R.I., Vineyard Haven, Mass., New Bedford, Mass., the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal. The whaleship returns to Mystic Seaport August 6.
- June – 23rd Annual WoodenBoat Show held at Mystic Seaport.
- Summer – The Joseph Conrad Summer Sailing Camp celebrates its 65th anniversary.
- November – Mystic Seaport co-publishes a definitive new biography of W. Starling Burgess, one of America’s preeminent yacht designers, by Llewellyn Howland III.
- December – Mystic Seaport, in collaboration with The Day newspaper, publishes a new coffee table book chronicling the history and 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan.
- January – Mystic Seaport breaks ground for the Museum’s new Thompson Exhibition Building.