Take Your Time

Seascapes: Fall/Winter 2012

Steve White, PresidentTime, it seems these days, is a commodity in both short supply and high demand. We are so busy that we wish to have more of it, only to spend what we have on getting more things done and fulfilling our many obligations. Taking one’s time – to linger, to pause, to appreciate – is a skill that is difficult to exercise, perhaps now more than ever. How fortunate we are to have a place like Mystic Seaport where “taking one’s time” is valued, if not required.

Last spring, two new exhibits opened that require time – a good amount of it – to truly appreciate the quality of the objects, the skill of the artists, and the beauty of the presentation. “Treasures from the Collections” represents the finest examples from our collections and is stunningly presented in a transformed Schaefer Exhibit Hall. It is the combination of curatorial and exhibiting expertise that draws in the visitor and demands one’s attention. An hour (or two) quickly passes, leaving one thirsty for more. In the Dalvero Academy’s “Restoring a Past, Charting a Future – An Artistic Discovery of America’s Whaling Legacy,” located in the Stillman Building, 24 artists share the results of 2 ½ years of work inspired by Mystic Seaport and Charles W. Morgan. Each artist’s contribution creates a unique section of a masterpiece quilt of contemporary interpretation that surprises the visitor by its depth when viewed individually or collectively. And yes, not surprisingly, it requires time to fully comprehend the talent of each artist and the messages within his/her exhibit pieces as a part of the whole.

Luckily for our members, these two exhibits, and everything else at the Museum, can be visited time and time again. In this era where we check off our “to-dos” or “must-sees,” engaging places like Mystic Seaport are all the more essential, as they allow us to go deeper and to slow the pace of time by getting lost in experience and content. This is a value we cultivate and share, and one that is supported by your annual membership and philanthropic gifts.

Our latest presentation from our curators, scholars, and exhibit creators is actually found at another institution, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT, where “The Rockets’ Red Glare: Connecticut and the War of 1812” opened in July. This is the result of five local institutions collectively telling the local story of the War of 1812. It is a wonderful representation of effective collaboration. Please be sure to see this exhibition (and buy and read the companion book), as many of these objects are rarely seen, and the Connecticut story of the War of 1812 has never been told like this, thanks to the great work of the collaborating institutions: Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Seaport, New London County Historical Society, New London Maritime Society, and Stonington Historical Society.

Steve White signature

Stephen C. White