From the President
A Busy Start to Fall
September is always a busy month in many respects, even though there is a temptation to think that post Labor Day things will settle down. Our visitor numbers have been fantastic for August and September, the best for the past few years. Much attention is still directed to the Charles W. Morgan and the 38th Voyage project, and recently I had the pleasure of accepting the National Maritime Alliance’s Award of Distinction for the Museum’s work with the ship’s recent voyage. The Award, which was presented at the National Maritime Heritage Conference in Norfolk, Virginia, demonstrates the esteem with which Mystic Seaport is held in the maritime community given all that was accomplished throughout the 38th Voyage. As I said when I accepted the Award on behalf of the Museum, it is a privilege to work at Mystic Seaport with such talented and dedicated staff who have the right stuff to complete such an ambitious project. We are all indeed fortunate.
September is also the time of our Members’ Annual Meeting where we comment on the accomplishments of the past fiscal year and reflect upon current and future priorities. On a beautiful Saturday, September 27, members in attendance heard, among other things, about the Board’s affirmation to build a new exhibition building on the northern side of Anchor Circle. The 14,000-square foot building plan is currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission in the Town of Stonington, and once permitted, it is the intention to begin construction early in 2015. On the heels of the success of the 38th Voyage, we are thrilled that the Board of Trustees confirms its desire to push forward with this second element of transformational work at Mystic Seaport. This project will ultimately help us address the Museum’s stated exhibition needs.
Also at the meeting, Director of Education Sarah Cahill presented the annual Orion Award for Excellence and Experiential Education to Macy Kleinfelder of The Williams School in New London. Macy was honored for her dedication to and participation in the Museum’s digital education initiative as represented in the Mystic Seaport for Educators website. For the past two years, Macy has been a mainstay of the collaboration between Mystic Seaport, educators, and schools. It’s an exciting program for Mystic Seaport, and it provides new and interactive access to our collections for teachers and learners across the country.
Finally, I had the great pleasure of welcoming to Mystic Seaport a very important donor to the Charles W. Morgan project. Since 2011, Matthew Hamel has made three significant gifts to the Morgan campaign. I think it is safe to say that he made stretch gifts in order to support a project that was important to him, now all of 13 years old! This was the first time I had the opportunity to meet Matthew and his family, and I must say it was an unusual delight to have an opportunity to tour such a young donor around the Morgan and Mystic Seaport and explain the impact of his generosity. I’m not sure who had more fun that day, the Hamel family or me, but I know we will both remember it fondly. It’s a great lesson of what family determines to be important, and just think, if there were many more Matthews in this world, museums like Mystic Seaport would never have to worry!