Making the Important Holiday Connections

I’m a big fan of this period of time following Thanksgiving and before the New Year. Thanksgiving is the annual prompt to pause and reflect upon those elements of our lives for which we are the most grateful.

Like so many, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day with immediate family but throughout the week we all focused on the extended families, if you will, which includes neighborhoods, our favorite nonprofits, and the broader regional communities.

In my role at Mystic Seaport, it is a chance to truly appreciate the remarkable interactions that occur every day here in Mystic, at Mystic Seaport, and in New London County. How fortunate we are to live in a place so consistent with Mystic Seaport’s core values of authenticity, community, stewardship, knowledge, and inspiration.

Without fail, throughout the Museum grounds and within our various programs, I see these core values actively at work and personified by the talented staff that does so much to make the Mystic Seaport experience real and personal to our visitors, our members, and our volunteers. Everything we do here is purposeful and linked to the mission of the Museum in each and every public encounter. It is the authenticity of these encounters that I believe keep all of us coming back to the Museum each and every day.

There is no greater personification of this spirit than the seasonal Lantern Light Tours. I suspect that most of you who are reading this letter are regular attendees. Families from New York to Boston and beyond make Lantern Light Tours an annual event because of the personal intimacy with the story and the actors. Each year our staff writes a new script to celebrate the spirit of the holidays and to connect us with a period of time through an authentic presentation that we all seem to respect and even long for. Our staff works so hard to pull the audience into the performance, allowing for participatory engagement. Perhaps it is this personal involvement that brings audiences back year after year for that very special LLT experience. As one young visitor a few years ago said to his dad, “I’ve been transported back in time.”

While time travel is not necessarily our objective, we do hope that the visitor will leave the Lantern Light Tour experience grateful for an experience both authentic and meaningful, and making their holiday season all that more memorable. To our staff who are engaged in this year’s production, particularly Rebecca Bayreuther Donahue (writer) and Denise Kegler (director), we thank you for your service to Mystic Seaport and the broader community of Mystic, CT.

Steve White