NEH Awards Mystic Seaport $450,000 for the Charles W. Morgan

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Mystic Seaport $450,000 to support public programming related to the 38th Voyage of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan.

The funds will be used for dockside and onboard activities and programming during the ship’s Voyage in 2014. In addition, the grant will help fund a new permanent exhibit on whaling at Mystic Seaport titled “In the Wake of the Whalers.”

“This grant will help us fully express the Morgan’s significance to maritime heritage and indeed American history,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.

The ship’s 38th Voyage will begin in late May 2014, when the Morgan will go back to sea to visit historic ports of New England to celebrate the importance of America’s maritime heritage. After a period of refitting and sea trials based in New London, the ship will sail to Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, and Boston. She will also venture onto the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and participate in the centennial celebration of the Cape Cod Canal. The voyage will be a commemoration of the role of the sea in the history of America and an appreciation of our changing relationship with the natural world.

The award is an America’s Historic & Cultural Organizations Implementation Grant, which is used to support museum exhibits, library-based projects, interpretation of historic places, websites, and other formats that excite and inform “thoughtful reflection upon culture, identity and history,” according to the NEH.

Mystic Seaport was awarded a $40,000 planning grant in the same category for the Morgan in 2011.

The NEH also awarded $164,280 to support the 2014 NEH Summer Institute “The American Maritime People” at the Museum’s Frank C. Munson Institute. The grant will enable the Institute to bring 20 college and university faculty members to Mystic Seaport in the summer of 2014 to teach them about the cultural influence of the nation’s maritime past so they can share that knowledge with undergraduates across the country.

“It is very rewarding to receive our fourth NEH grant in the last nine years,” said Dr. Glenn Gordinier, Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport and the Co-Director of the Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies. “That kind of affirmation from such an esteemed body confirms the importance of our work and gives a great boost to everyone involved.”

The grants announced today are part of $33 million for 173 humanities projects in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Supported projects include the publication of the complete papers of the first Federal Congress, which met from 1789 to 1791, and an extensive digitization of American newspaper archives.

The NEH press release and a complete list of the grants can be found at www.neh.gov.

About Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $24 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org.