Dress Rehearsal for Summer

The month of May means so many things at Mystic Seaport–from warmer days and flowering gardens at the outset, to the Lobster Days on Memorial Day Weekend hosted by the Rotary. In many respects May is the dress rehearsal for summer, and it’s also the first month of our new fiscal year. Starting the year strong is important to any organization, and I think that we are poised to do just that. As our fiscal year ends on April 30th we are in the final push for the Annual Fund and having good success, and we are preparing for the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees during which we review the year just ended and review the budget and goals for the new year.

Pilot Weekend Our veteran members know that May is also the month for the spring PILOT Weekend, May 8-9. A long and meaningful tradition for the Museum, PILOTS symbolizes one of the more vibrant and essential components of our volunteer program. A hearty band of hard working, talented volunteers take to the grounds of the Museum twice a year to complete numerous critical tasks that help prepare many elements of the Museum in the spring for the high season and again in the fall to help prepare for the winter months. Approximately 100 strong, our PILOTS assist the staff throughout the Museum, including preparing gardens, building floating docks, completing various shipyard and rigging projects, preparing boats for the Boat House, painting buildings, and numerous curatorial tasks in the CRC. In addition to contributing to the well-being of the Museum in this meaningful way, the PILOTS also enjoy the special camaraderie that results from working hard as a team and the sense of accomplishment they feel at the end of the day on Saturday. Of course, we feed them well and also provide them with an insider’s look into some aspect of our Museum work. This May they will be treated to a presentation on our new exhibit, TUGS!, opening later this month. More on that below. I hate to think just how we would complete all this work without the PILOTS, and I wish to thank them for their crucial service to the Museum. My gratitude also extends to staff member Chris Freeman, PILOT Coordinator and volunteer Fred Smith, PILOT Steering Committee Chair for their leadership and to all the other staff members who turn out to help facilitate the many projects. If you are interested in becoming a PILOT and want to consider joining for a future weekend, please be in touch with either Chris or Fred.

TUGS!All winter we have heard the Exhibitions Department talking about their newest creation which will open in the R. J. Schaefer Building in May – TUGS! This exhibit promises to have something for everyone as well as tell the story of the significant contributions and the special role tugboats have played in our maritime world, past and present. I think you’ll agree with me that there is something magical about tugs, and they have long been the subject of song, literature, poetry, and painting. In fact, it seems that every art show in the Maritime Gallery features at least one painting of a tug fulfilling its duty. And why is this? Well, the tugboat represents so many aspects of the maritime experience. Small, yet sturdy and strong, the tugboat is the work horse of any active harbor. A tug moves the larger ships to safety or delivers the barge and its important cargo to its final destination. She is a companion and a guide; she is dependable and agile. Whether a child with a toy tugboat in the bath tub or an adult witnessing its skill in a crowded harbor, we enjoy all that a tug represents to us. So Mystic Seaport celebrates the world of tugs, and we invite you to join us in that celebration as TUGS! opens in May. Our grand TUGS! Blast is on May 22nd when we officially open the exhibit and acknowledge the tugboats’ service to the maritime community with an opening ceremony at 12:45 pm. The exhibit features interactive elements, a “real” tug, and a new pool for boats outside the G.W. Blunt White Building where future tug captains can try their hand at the art of pushing and pulling. To make the day truly special, at least six tugs at last count will be on hand to celebrate with us and to make the Blast all the more memorable. So join in the fun and mark your calendar now so that you won’t miss it!!

Just in before the deadline: Latitude 41° has opened successfully and the food is great and the renovation is beautiful!!

Steve