To meet the growing demands of an aging wooden fleet Mystic Seaport, under the leadership of Waldo Johnston, made a major commitment to the preservation of its ships by building the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard on the former site of the Charles Mallory shipyard. The first major task for the new Preservation Shipyard, the first of its kind, was to restore the National Historic Landmark Charles W. Morgan, signaling a new mission for the Museum: the preservation of maritime skills as well as artifacts. The shipyard needed skilled shipwrights to care for the Museum’s wooden fleet, so it became a center for both experienced shipbuilders and young people eager to learn. With the arrival of John Gardner, Mystic Seaport widened its emphasis on traditional wooden small craft and began to offer boatbuilding and boat-handling classes. This effort to preserve maritime skills included the new Special Demonstration Squad, created to engage visitors in traditional maritime skills, such as sail-handling, rowing, and fishsplitting.
- Spring — Executive Committee of Trustees approves concept of a shipyard facility with a lift dock.
- August — Trustees vote to refloat the Charles W. Morgan.
- Boatbuilding classes first offered by John Gardner.
- Spring — Fireplace cooking demonstrations begin in the Buckingham House.
- Summer — Beginning of live demonstrations of maritime skills at the Museum with activities performed by Special Demonstration Squad and chanteymen.
- July — Executive Board votes to purchase the Rossie Mill (future site of the Collections Research Center).
- Federal Clean Water Act.
- Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
- May — Steamboat Sabino arrives for one-year trial; purchased by the Museum in May 1974.
- October — Shipyard lift dock completed; Charles W. Morgan refloated in December and hauled on lift dock in January 1974.
- July/August — First Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous at the Museum.
- Bicentennial observations bring largest attendance ever, almost 578,000.
- Museum Membership is now 15,082.
- Williams College-Mystic Seaport Program in American Maritime Studies for undergraduate students begins.
- First Lantern Light Tour season.
- Mystic Seaport’s 50th anniversary celebration.
- Museum property consists of 19 acres of exhibits, 44 acres total.