From the President
Achieving the Vision
It is with great anticipation that we welcome the month of September! On September 24, we will finally arrive at a long-awaited event: the opening of the Thompson Exhibition Building, which is the final manifestation of a vision created by Museum leadership and staff, and supported by lead donors Wade and Angela Thompson along with numerous other generous supporters along the way. The project is a result of careful master planning and the desire to create a vibrant future for Mystic Seaport as an exhibiting museum.
The Thompson Building represents a significant physical change to our campus. Other such turning-point projects that helped shape the Museum include: the creation of the 19th Century Village in the 1950s and 1960s, the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard in the 1970s, the Collections Research Center in the late 1990s, and now the re-imagination of the north end of the campus into what is now known as the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle, anchored by the Thompson Building.
This building has been described as transformational. That was the late Wade Thompson’s hope, as he personally responded to the challenge and vision for an all-season, all-weather, state-of-the-art exhibition facility. I know he would be pleased with the end result of the Museum’s work, and he would be further impressed by the collaborative efforts of the Board of Trustees and the Museum’s staff throughout the past decade, which featured shifts in leadership and an historic recession.
Nonetheless, the vision and the commitment remained strong, and during the opening events for the building, we will be honoring those individuals who brought this game-changer to fruition. So why is it a game-changer for Mystic Seaport? In short, this new building symbolizes the coming together of two of the Museum’s greatest resources: its staff and its collections. The buildings around McGraw Quad provide seven galleries to showcase not only the Museum’s collections and the talent of our curators and exhibition developers, but also the collections and exhibitions of leading museums from around the world. The recent “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude” was an excellent example of the types of exhibits we can expect to showcase from other museums while also highlighting the depth and breadth of our own. You will see that in our first exhibition in the Collins Gallery, “Sea-Change.”
This project also allows the Museum to expand its business model by being more attractive during all months of the year to visitors to the Mystic area. In much the same way that bringing of the Charles W. Morgan to Mystic Seaport and building the Village brought literally millions of visitors to the region, we believe the Thompson Exhibition Building will do the same for the Museum in this millennium. We are indeed fortunate to have this opportunity, and we promise to make the very most of it. Stay tuned for more information about “Sea-Change” which will open on December 10, 2016.
See you at the opening of Thompson Exhibition Building on September 24!