Welcome, summer!

Welcome, summer!All the staff would agree how wonderful it is to have the public streaming back to the campus. It’s been a great start to the year, building on what was a successful end to fiscal year 2012 on April 30. I’m pleased to announce that our attendance numbers were up for the past fiscal year, the highest since FY 2009, and the first increase over the previous year since FY 2007. In addition to that marker of success, we’ve opened three new exhibits, which I hope you will take the time to view if you have not done so already. I think you’ll agree with me that Neptune’s Orchestra, Treasures from the Collections, and the Dalvero Academy Restoring a Past, Charting a Future are first-rate exhibits, offering something for everyone. I highly encourage you to take the time required to truly linger in the Dalvero exhibit, as there are 24 artists’ unique and interesting responses to the inspiration provided by the Morgan and connected exhibits.

As you know by now, the fiscal year ended with the great proclamation provided by Governor Malloy and the Legislature announcing that the school year 2013/14 has been declared the “Year of the Charles W. Morgan.” We are in touch with the Department of Education to begin working on how best to fulfill the potential in that declaration and to bring greater attention to the Morgan, Mystic Seaport, and our programs.

There is certainly no time to linger and enjoy the successes of the past. As the new year is upon us and as we welcome in June, we are grateful for a positive May (numbers up again!) and anticipate what is always an incredibly busy June highlighted by the 33rd Annual Sea Music Festival (June 7-10) and the 21st Annual WoodenBoat Show (June 29-July 1). This year marks the ninth summer that the WoodenBoat Show has been hosted on Museum grounds, and we are excited and honored to once again be a part of this popular event. Both the WoodenBoat Show and the Sea Music Festival, plus additional activities hosted throughout June, give us the opportunity to celebrate our seafaring heritage unlike any other maritime museum. These two events speak to the very heart and soul of the Museum which has served to inspire countless successful practitioners in the maritime world beyond Mystic Seaport grounds. So many people are responsible for making sure these two events happen flawlessly, and I wish to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to them all.

And in case the WoodenBoat Show may not satisfy your thirst for beautiful vessels, just one week later, July 6-8, Mystic Seaport will host the Catboat Association’s 50th Rendezvous featuring in excess of 100 catboats of all design and ages. We welcome back the Catboat Association and know that they will contribute greatly to another wonderful weekend at the Museum. Mystic Seaport will also contribute mightily to their celebration by providing the Association the opportunity to share their appreciation for each other and their boats in one great place.

Finally, there is more good news with respect to tourism in the State of Connecticut. The Governor has fulfilled his commitment to the tourism industry by officially launching the state’s comprehensive marketing initiative that will spend $27 million over the next two years to promote the state and its assets to potential visitors looking for something wonderful to do. The state’s tagline, still revolutionary!, speaks to the rich and diverse opportunities that existed here since Colonial times and now captured in the state’s museums, attractions, and businesses. The state marketing team, along with the efforts of institutions like Mystic Seaport, will help fire up renewed interest in all that Connecticut has to offer to its citizens and its visitors near and far. Let’s hope that this is the catalyst for continued growth in the tourism business that will undoubtedly benefit Mystic Seaport and compliment our award-winning marketing efforts. Watch the marketing clips here (with lots of shots from Mystic Seaport!).

Be a frequent visitor!

Steve White