Green Initiatives at Mystic Seaport

Installation of the solar panels on the roof of the Collections Research Center.

Solar panels were installed on the roof of the Collections Research Center in 2013

Mystic Seaport is proud of its efforts to be environmentally responsible to help preserve and improve the quality of the environment on the grounds and in the waters of the Mystic River. The McGraw Gallery Quad project continues this stewardship by incorporating green practices and technology. However, the Quad is just one aspect of the Museum’s commitment to the environment.

McGraw Gallery Quad

The Thompson Exhibition Building uses geothermal technology for its heating and cooling. The energy-efficient system circulates liquid through a series of 20 closed-loop wells–each 465-feet deep–that extract needed heat or cooling from the ground depending on the season.

The project employs a comprehensive stormwater collection and containment system for the Quadrangle project. Runoff is collected in a drainage network that directs it to an underground retention system which which will filter a portion of the water before it enters the water table and eventually make sit way into the Mystic River. In addition, much of the paving is permeable, enabling water to percolate into the underlying soil for natural treatment.

Solar Energy

Mystic Seaport has two major solar arrays that help supply electricity for the Museum’s needs. The roof of the Collections Research Center has a  963-panel system that helps to offset the electricity use of the building, which houses the Museum’s vast collection of more than 2 million maritime artifacts. The building requires extensive humidity and temperature control, which contributes to significant energy usage.The solar photovoltaic system generates over 250 MWh of electricity annually. Altus Power of Greenwich, CT owns and maintains the system, which was built by Vanguard Energy Partners.

The second array supports the Williams-Mystic program’s James T. Carlton Marine Science Center.


Preventing unwanted debris and substances from entering the Mystic River is a priority for the operation of the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard. A key feature of the Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift is a catchment basin that collects runoff and debris from work on the vessels hauled in the lift. The concrete basin channels the materials and liquids to holding tanks that can be subsequently pumped out to enable proper disposal.

The Shipyard also provides sanitary pump out facilities as part of the State of Connecticut’s Clean Marina Program.


The gardening staff are constantly evaluating environmentally-responsible methods to improve their work on the Museum’s grounds. Of note is a comprehensive composting program that provides healthy, 100-percent organic compost for the entire campus.