Timeless Traditions

As elsewhere, the holiday season somehow seems to have started early at Mystic Seaport. With the annual Lighted Holiday Boat Parade successfully completed, and with a month of Lantern Light Tours ahead, the Museum of America and the Sea is as active and festive as ever. Despite the unseasonably balmy temperatures around the region, trees have been fastened to the tops of masts, garland has been strung across bowsprits, and festive lights welcome all travelers.

November was a banner month for the Museum starting with a very successful 70th Anniversary Celebration of the Charles W. Morgan‘s arrival in Mystic. 3,700 visitors attended our commemorative free day on Saturday, November 5. For the keynote address that day, I was joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal, local volunteer Melinda Carlilse, Trustee William Forster, along with noted historian and Morgan campaign co-chair, Nathaniel Philbrick. As a special guest, we were glad to host Bob Lane who served as crew onboard that day in November 1941 as a Sea Scout. It was a particular honor to acknowledge Bob as one of the last surviving “crew members” of this remarkable ship.

All spoke eloquently about the importance of the Charles W. Morgan to the citizens of Mystic, to the people of New England, and to America. Nat Philbrick made special note of his own personal connection to Mystic Seaport and the Morgan, retelling a story about how his father still cherishes a harpoon head, inscribed with the initials “C.W.M.,” which he purchased at an antique store on their way home from a visit to Mystic Seaport almost fifty years ago. It still hangs in his library today, a token of his family’s respect for maritime tradition. See Nat’s address, along with our other honored guests, at our YouTube channel.

This is a month full of traditions at Mystic Seaport. Lantern Light Tours enters its 33rd year, providing an evocative glimpse back to the holidays as celebrated in 1876. The storyline featured in our Lantern Light Tours changes every single year with scripts written and performed by our talented staff. This year we learn of old Mr. Hyde, a local miser, and his interaction with the Cady family who are out to prove that love and kindness matter more than gold. Families have returned year after year to experience new perspectives on Christmas Eve in Greenmanville.

Lastly, another long-standing tradition is the 56th Annual Community Carol Sing which brings the local community together for one of our signature events. As in years past, we expect over 1,500 people to stand together in Anchor Circle on December 18th to celebrate the season with song and good cheer. The Museum will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free with the donation of a canned good item. All contributions will be donated to the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center for their use and distribution.

We hope you can join us in continuing these wonderful traditions. If not, we wish you and your family the very best wherever you are this holiday season.

Steve