Be Part of History
I have a wonderful painting hanging in my office of Flying Cloud by Warren Sheppard. It depicts a solitary ship in a good sea. Much of the scene is left to interpretation, and I have discussed its potential meaning with many who have visited my office. Does the painting depict a scene at sunrise with wonderful possibilities ahead, or is it dusk with an impending storm? My interpretation of this Sheppard is that dawn is breaking and there is great opportunity and potential ahead for the ship – this is precisely how I see the Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage. We can only begin to imagine just how significant this voyage will be for her, Mystic Seaport, and the maritime community.
For the first time in more than 90 years, the Morgan will be freed from her dock lines and once again set out to sea under sail. The long hoped-for moment has arrived; take a minute to reflect on what this 38th Voyage means on so many levels. After decades of care from shipwrights and curators at Mystic Seaport, by venturing down the Mystic River, she will transcend all that she has been while at dockside and return to being the fullest expression of “the Morgan.” This will be the moment when the Morgan’s spirit will truly arise, and from this voyage, we will learn much about whaling ships and capture knowledge that can only be gained from being at sea.
It is, of course, important to highlight her homecoming in New Bedford, MA, in late June. While much has been made over time about the Morgan’s departure in 1941 from the New Bedford region, I believe much more will be made of her homecoming. Then, almost 73 years ago, the Charles W. Morgan was tattered and at risk; now she is strong and proud, and indeed a stirring image of what she once was. She returns as the pride of both New Bedford and Mystic Seaport, and great preparations are underway for her return, organized by the New Bedford community. It doesn’t take much to imagine the magnitude of the moment when she goes up the Acushnet River and passes through the hurricane gates and is proclaimed home again.
So, what a summer it will be! Life at Mystic Seaport will remain as alive as ever with all our summer events taking place in celebration of our maritime heritage. Put the Sea Music Festival, the WoodenBoat Show, and Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous on your calendars, and be sure to join us by land or by sea to visit the Morgan in port or view her underway during the 38th Voyage, a sight not likely to recur in our lifetimes. You will find the itinerary on page 15 in this edition of the Magazine, which will help you to plan to be part of history.
See you on the Morgan!
Stephen C. White