Professional Development

Dr. Glenn Gordinier and teachers during the African American History Google Hangout Teacher Professional Development workshop.

Dr. Glenn Gordinier, Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport, leading an African American Maritime History professional development workshop. Teachers also participated in the workshop online via a Google Hangout.

The professional development programs at Mystic Seaport provide teachers with behind-the-scenes tours and thematic workshops that correlate the Museum’s vast collections with classroom curriculum. Workshops show teachers how to utilize the Museum and its collections in their classrooms through active participation and interaction with experts, primary documents, and exhibition objects.

School-Year Professional Development Programs

Mystic Seaport provides workshops for primary and secondary school teachers and sessions may occur at your school or on Museum grounds. Workshops focus on utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to illuminate history, and topics include maritime history, use of primary documents in the classroom, and how to use a museum as a teaching resource. Museum teachers are also available to do short presentations at teacher meetings.

Upcoming Programs — Please check back soon for dates

Please note, some of the following programs may take place online via a Google Hangout.

  • “Immigration featuring Related Oral Histories” with Fred Calabretta, oral historian and curator at Mystic Seaport
  • “The Indian Whalers Project” with Dr. Jason Mancini, senior researcher at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
  • “Navigation at Sea, Nautical Instruments and the Treworgy Planetarium” with Planetarium and Collections staff
  • “Life at Sea” with a special guest speaker
  • “The Civil War” with Curator Fred Calabretta
  • “The War of 1812″ with Curator Fred Calabretta and Dr. Glenn Gordinier, Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport
  • “World War II and the Story of Gerda III” with a special guest speaker
  • “Maritime Art and Scrimshaw” with Mystic Seaport Education Department staff member Barbara Jarnagin and Curator Fred Calabretta (workshop will include hands-on art projects)

Previous 2014 professional development programs included “Using Mystic Seaport for Educators in Your Classroom” with Krystal Rose, Manager of Digital Education Initiatives at Mystic Seaport, and “African American Maritime History” with Dr. Glenn Gordinier.

For additional information, please contact Krystal Rose at 860.572.0711, ext. 5025 or

Mystic Seaport for Educators Fellow Positions Available for Summer 2014: Application deadline is May 2

Mystic Seaport for EducatorsThe Mystic Seaport for Educators (MSE) team is accepting applications for new MSE Fellows for the summer of 2014. The Fellows are a vital part of the MSE Resource Creation Professional Development Program, an innovative project which uses the expertise of educators from public and private schools as well as homeschool families. Each summer up to 10 MSE Fellows work with Museum staff to create content for our education website. Teachers use the content in their classrooms and share it with other teachers and students. Content created by educators includes Artifact Articles, Living Documents and Maps. 

Key Elements of the Program and Application Instructions

  • Participants attend orientation programs which include collections tours, oral history workshops, film and video workshops, research workshops, and a resource creation workshop.

    MSE Fellows from summer 2013 inspecting a tortoise-shell cradle from the Museum's collection.

    MSE Fellows from summer 2013 inspecting a tortoise-shell cradle from the Museum’s collection.

  • Individuals choose what to research from a pre-compiled list of artifacts and documents. (These are compiled based on educator needs. Additions to the list are welcome.)
  • Participants research and study items in the collection, working closely with curators and other key Museum staff, in order to create MSE website features and an MSE educator profile.
  • Fellows work with Mystic Seaport staff to create content and features. Extremely detailed instructions are provided for each website feature and staff support is readily available.
  • Fellows attend one Museum field trip.
  • Upon editing and approval by Museum staff, the teacher’s website features and educator profile are published on the MSE website.
  • Museum staff will present the project and website at each teacher’s school upon request as an hour long professional development program. (This can be done virtually or in person.)
  • Participants receive small stipends upon completion of features and 40 hours of work (hours can be spread over the whole summer).

The program begins in late June/early July, after all selected applicants are out of school. Mystic Seaport staff will work closely with each applicant to create a flexible schedule.

To apply, send an email to with the following information in a Word or PDF attachment. Applications must be received no later than May 2.

1. Name

2. Home Address

3. Email

4. Phone

5. School Name and Address

6. Grade Level(s) Taught

7. Subject Area

8. Reference (Name, phone, email)

9. Why would you like to participate in the Mystic Seaport for Educators Summer Program?

10. When are you available this summer? Start and end date. Remember, we will work with you to create a flexible schedule. We just want to get an idea of start/end dates for applicants.

11. Browse our artifacts and documents available to be made into Artifact Articles and Living Documents:

Pick one object or document and share your ideas to make it a full feature Artifact Article or Living Document. Does it have an important story to tell? What sorts of questions surround the object or document? Is there related media? How could a teacher use the object or document in the classroom? Submissions for this part should be no longer than one page long.

For more information, please contact Krystal Rose.

Summer Professional Development Programs

Munson InstituteThe Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport offers dynamic and challenging graduate-level courses in American maritime history. During a six-week summer session, students may take two out of three possible courses for graduate credit or CEUs. Course selections include a Maritime History Survey, a Maritime Studies Seminar and Independent Research. Mystic Seaport serves as the unique campus for the courses, and students will also attend field seminars in New London, Stonington, and Newport. Anyone with a strong personal and academic interest in the sea may apply. For more information, call 860.572.0711, ext. 5089.

Teacher Recognition

Orion AwardThe Orion Award for Excellence in Experiential Education was introduced in 2005 in honor of Mystic Seaport’s 75th anniversary. The annual award honors one or more teachers for their commitment to utilizing the Museum’s collections, programs, and learning resources to create meaningful and innovative learning experiences for their students. The award recognizes teachers who are willing to take chances, to take full advantage of the resources that are available to them, to be creative, and to be ready to turn an unexpected moment into a spectacular teaching opportunity. And, perhaps most importantly, teachers who radiate the joy of learning, as well as of teaching.