From the President
Mystic Seaport Families
Over the past eight-plus decades, the Museum has thrived in part due to the tremendous leadership and generosity of a few dedicated multi-generational Mystic Seaport families that include: Mallory, Schaefer, Ridgway, Chubb, Vietor, duPont, and McGraw.
It is my pleasure to announce that the legacy of one such family has recently been honored. At the last meeting of the Board of Trustees, the decision was made to name the new gallery quadrangle in memory of Donald C. McGraw. Don’s generosity over an 18-year period, coupled with that of his children, including current Trustee Robin McGraw, was significant particularly with respect to collections and endowment. For instance, Mr. McGraw bequeathed 24 James Buttersworth paintings to the Museum upon his death, creating then the largest single public collection of Buttersworths. The Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle designates the area where the seven traditional exhibition galleries sit at Mystic Seaport, all of which will be anchored by the new Thompson Exhibition Building (named in honor of the generous support of Wade and Angela Thompson).
It is important to note that two of the other exhibition buildings in this area carry Mystic Seaport family names, Mallory and Schaefer. The Mallory story first began with Clifford D. Mallory in 1929, a founding Trustee of the Museum, who began serving as President in 1937, followed by his brother Philip R. Mallory in 1941 as President, then followed by Clifford D. Mallory, Jr. in 1976 as President. And, Charles Mallory has continued the important legacy of his father, grandfather, and uncle by serving as a Trustee since 1990. The Mallorys were largely responsible for a significant shift in the mid-late 1960s period of transformation at the Museum with the opening of the Mildred C. Mallory Membership Building, and the P.R. Mallory Building to adjoin the existing C.D. Mallory Building. Also during this period the Museum built the G.W. Blunt White Building, and the Seamen’s Inne (now known as Latitude 41°), and the duPont family contributed to this campus development, which included the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.
In the following decade, Rudolph “Rudie” J. Schaefer, III and his wife, Jane, were instrumental in building the R. J. Schaefer Building, nestled between the G.W. Blunt White Building and the Greenmanville Church. At the time, it was our most up-to-date and prized exhibition facility. The Schaefers were also involved with the development of the Maritime Gallery, situated at the south gate adjacent to the Museum Store. The Maritime Gallery has long been considered one of the finest retail galleries on the East Coast for maritime art. The Schaefer family is another inspiring example of multi-generational support and Board leadership at the Museum.
All institutions go through a variety of phases with respect to physical and programmatic development. Those very same institutions value from and require strong bold leadership as well as the financial resources to help the vision of the period become a reality. Mystic Seaport has benefitted mightily from a series of families, whose legacy can be seen in virtually all corners of the Museum. I am heartened by the emergence of new families who will hopefully create that continuity that is so important with respect to vision and implementation. I wish to acknowledge all the families who have been so engaged for so long, many of whom are not mentioned here, but who have also contributed to our long-term success. Please know that such multi-generation support, no matter how large or small, is valued, and that your consistent support gives us the confidence and resources to move forward.