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MAYFLOWER II: Reproduction Galleon

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The historic Mayflower II, which is owned by Plimoth Plantation, arrived at Mystic Seaport Museum in early November 2016 to continue a multi-year restoration in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard. The preservation work on the wooden ship will be carried out over a span of 30 months. The project is scheduled for completion prior to 2020the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

The ship will be hauled out of the water in the yard. Due to the nature of the work, visitors should not plan on being able to board the vessel, although she will be on display in the Shipyard during the restoration.

History of the Mayflower II

Mayflower II at sea Photo courtesy Plimoth Plantation

Mayflower II at sea
Photo courtesy Plimoth Plantation

Mayflower II is a reproduction of the original Mayflower that transported the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620. It was Englishman Warwick Charlton’s idea to build Mayflower II; he wanted to commemorate the historic ties between England and America, which were strengthened during World War II. Plimoth Plantation agreed to maintain and exhibit Mayflower II once she reached the United States. The new ship was built from 1955-57 at Upham Shipyard in the town of Brixham in Devon, England. She sailed to the United States in 1957.

The vessel is a full-scale reproduction of the original Mayflower. The details of the ship, from the solid oak timbers and tarred hemp rigging to the wood and horn lanterns and hand-colored maps, were carefully re-created to give visitors a sense of what the original 17th-century vessel was like. Mayflower II does feature a few modifications, with the most notable difference being the large, modern staircase between the main and lower decks. (In the 17th century ladders were used.) Electric lights illuminating the dark corners of the lower deck were also not standard in the 1600s. Other minor modifications were made to Mayflower II to make sure the vessel would be accessible, safe, and comfortable for the visiting public. 

The celebrated ship is a major exhibit of Plimoth Plantation and a leading tourism attraction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drawing millions of people from around the world to Plymouth’s historic waterfront to learn about the nation’s early Colonial history.