A Big Year

As we closed the 2014 fiscal year on April 30, I’d like to thank the entire Mystic Seaport community for making it such a successful year. Staff, volunteers, members, and donors all came together in support of the institution’s mission and our current priorities. The staff’s work on the Charles W. Morgan and related projects has been inspiring, and in every corner of the Museum efforts have been ongoing to make the 38th Voyage, literally a traveling exhibit, memorable not only from an historic point of view, but also with respect to public history and current museum best practice.

Our volunteers have been integral in so many areas of this work, much of it is not seen by the everyday visitor, but all of it appreciated by the broader Mystic Seaport community, knowing that so much of our work could not have been accomplished without their support.

I am also very pleased to announce that donations to the Museum’s Annual Fund this year set a new record, eclipsing our goal of $1.4 million in support of Museum operations, which includes staff compensation, educational programs, visitor experiences, and curatorial work. Our donors have set a new standard for their generosity, and for that we are most grateful! The foundation for so much of our work is established by our impressive number of members who in turn do their best through membership and philanthropy to enable Mystic Seaport to remain a national treasure. With such a monumental year now underway, I encourage all members to not only renew, but to bring friends and family into the membership ranks.

38th VoyageThe first month of the new fiscal year will most definitely be a memorable one and the culmination of many years of work. Already, we have seen the world premiere of filmmaker Bailey Pryor’s documentary, The Charles W. Morgan, last Sunday. It was a tremendous event attended by almost 700 people at the Garde Arts Center in New London. It will be followed by the Connecticut release on CPTV at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 12. Then, nationwide PBS affiliates can run with it starting May 17, so please check your local listings. Also on May 17, the Charles W. Morgan will cast off from the shiplift in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, her home for the past five and a half years. With the help of a tug, she will carefully make her way down the Mystic River and over to New London, where the fitting out process will continue in anticipation of her departure for Newport on the first sailing leg of her 38th Voyage during the wee hours of June 14. Also during the month of May, the Museum will announce the stowaway for the 38th Voyage. This long anticipated announcement follows months of interviews and reviews of videos and narratives as we sought the ideal person to be the eyes and ears of the public throughout the Voyage. At all times, you can follow the news and the most current updates regarding the Voyage on a new section on our website which will soon be released. Additionally, Facebook is an excellent way to be connected to the Museum and the Voyage, and we encourage you to follow us there.

Then, looking forward to June, the Charles W. Morgan will undertake its first sea trial on Saturday, June 7. It will be a wonderful day to be out on the water watching her actually sail for the first time in over 90 years. It will be quite a spectacle, and we hope you are planning a great place to be that day.

There is so much to share with you regarding the next several months, that I must recommend that you connect to the Museum in all ways possible: visiting the campus regularly, following the Voyage on our website, engaging with our stowaway on Facebook and YouTube, visiting the Morgan and the dockside exhibit during the Voyage, and enjoying the balance of the summer here when the Morgan is home. So much has been done, so much is yet to happen, and so many people have contributed mightily to this success. To you all, a heartfelt “Thank you!”

Steve White