Seascapes: Summer 2009
As you can see, the message from the President has changed to Seascapes from Sightings. Those of you who have gone to sea and those who have stood at the shoreline dreaming of a destination beyond the horizon know well the reflective places to which the seascape transports us. Painters and poets have long captured that mood and the seascape itself so that others, too, may enjoy and interpret what is so unique to the sea and its environs. This page in our magazine gives me a chance to reflect upon what I see here at Mystic Seaport and well beyond our own shores. As we enjoy these glorious summer months when the Museum is at its zenith of activity and vitality, the village, the ships and the duPont Shipyard are alive and telling their compelling stories as only they can. Pay attention to the faces on children during these times and one can’t help but be inspired by the “magic of Mystic.” Yet we all know that museums, like Mystic Seaport, are facing an economic storm that challenges our ability to tell these stories well and to protect our treasures, both large and small. Museums in particular find it difficult to navigate through such storms, as we are so rich in physical assets yet so limited in cash to cover even our most essential and basic expenses.
In such times, it’s you, our members, volunteers and friends, on whom we must depend, even more then ever. Our dedicated staff, whose numbers have sadly been depleted, can only withstand so much work and pressure, and our amazing corps of volunteers have done their best to fill the gaps and to add value to the experience of each visitor. In order for the Museum to fulfill its mission and flourish in doing so, it’s critical that we grow the Annual Fund by at least 50% in this fiscal year, meaning that we will look to members and friends to make the Museum their philanthropic priority this year and for the next two. By realizing this goal, we can then begin to reinstate some of those things that have been eliminated in recent months, as well as create new programs that can reinvigorate our community. In addition, we are renewing our efforts to find more corporate support, and we are building broader partnerships with other leading organizations that share our values and our responsibility to America.
Along this focused journey, we will look for fresh, new ideas that will help Mystic Seaport stand taller in the region and in the genre. We are exploring new ways to expand our outreach and how we share the spirit of the Museum with those who can’t make the trip to Mystic or with those who aren’t aware, yet, of this jewel on the Connecticut coast.
Finally, come climb aboard and crawl around the Charles W. Morgan, hauled ashore in our shipyard. Here you will see, smell, hear, and feel all that Mystic Seaport is and acutely observe how authentic and critical our work truly is.
Stephen C. White