The Next Phase

Exciting times here at Mystic Seaport! All this week we have been celebrating the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Charles W. Morgan to Mystic. We set things off with a bang last weekend with an awesome fireworks show on the river – the pyrotechnics were a great compliment to our new Sights & Frights Halloween program – and all week there have been events in town, including some fine music and dance performances and great dining as part of Mystic Restaurant Week. It has been great to see the Museum and town join together to celebrate our shared history.

This Saturday we are throwing open our doors to all with a day of free admission and special Morgan-related programming as we officially mark the anniversary. There will be special presentations and demonstrations, live music, tours of the ship, and at 1 p.m. a ceremony in the Shipyard with a keynote speech by noted historian and author Nat Philbrick, the honorary co-chair of our Morgan restoration campaign.

We close the day with the world premiere dramatic performance of George C. White’s “Prince of Whalers,” starring Brian Dennehy, Joe Grifasi, Linda Hart, and Maria Tucci. The music will be provided by our own chanteyman extraordinaire Geoff Kauffman with Rick Spencer and David Littlefield. Proceeds will go to benefit the Morgan restoration.

It is going to be a great day! I hope you will join us.

I also hope you will join us in another way. In addition to celebrating our special ship this week, we are kicking off the public phase of our fundraising effort. We have come a long way since we hauled the Morgan in 2008: she has been painstakingly evaluated and documented with the latest technology, Museum shipwrights have completed replacing the futtocks in the hold, and just last week they installed the “shutter” plank in the hold’s ceiling. That plank represents the completion of much of the interior work and the focus now moves outside the hull to the external planking.

Similarly, on the fundraising side it is time for us to turn our attention to the outside as well. We have raised a substantial portion of our goal already, but we have a ways to go and it is only through broad public support that this project can be brought to completion and the Morgan sent back to sea in 2014. It is a daring proposition: no one else in the country is attempting such an audacious project. We are creating living history with the Morgan’s 38th Voyage and I invite you to join us on the journey.