This year, the 400th anniversary (1620-2020) of the Pilgrims' arrival on the shores of historic Patuxet (Plymouth, Mass.) is commemorated. For the occassion, a new logo for Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum of 17th century Massachusetts, reveals the name Plimoth Patuxet—referencing the Indigenous communities who inhabited the area for 12,000 years, including the Wampanoag, whose land rights are still threatened.
The museum will officially announce its new name later this year. A museum statement noted: “Plimoth Plantation strives to create meaningful encounters with history built on thorough research about the Indigenous and European people who met along these shores of change."
Plimoth Plantation has already announced that MAYFLOWER II, its 64-year-old historic reproduction of the ship that brought the Pilgrims ashore in 1620, will begin the voyage home from Connecticut to Massachusetts, on July 20, 2020.
At this time, the ship is expected to arrive in Plymouth on or about August 10. All dates and times are subject to change based on tide and weather conditions as well as other factors that may affect the safety of the ship and crew.
The ship will depart Mystic Seaport Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard in Connecticut at 9:00 a.m. under tow by the tugboat JAGUAR, operated by Mitchell Towing in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The public will not be able to view the departure from the museum; however, there are several vantage points along the ship’s route down the Mystic River. Spectators are asked to be mindful of local regulations and to practice physical distancing and mask-wearing for the safety of others. Those wishing to track MAYFLOWER can use the MarineTraffic app or website: www.marinetraffic.com. Search for MAYFLOWER and choose the US sailing vessel result.
Once in New London, MAYFLOWER will be docked at the City Pier for just over two weeks. Whit Perry, Plimoth’s Director of Maritime Preservation & Operations and MAYFLOWER’s captain, will oversee a crew of 27. During their time in New London, the crew will conduct sea trials to test the ship’s performance and perform sail training to ensure safe operation underway. For the health and safety of the crew, the ship will not be available for public visitation until she is back home in Plymouth harbor.
“In a year marred by loss and great uncertainty in the world, we are hopeful that once again sailing MAYFLOWER may offer a symbol of courage and perseverance to millions of people,” said Ellie Donovan, Plimoth’s Executive Director. “We will be forever grateful to Mystic Seaport Museum for their partnership on this remarkable restoration, and we are thrilled to bring MAYFLOWER home to Plymouth in this 400th commemoration year.”
Designed by MIT-trained naval architect William Avery Baker for Plimoth Plantation, MAYFLOWER II was built in Brixham, England, beginning in July 1955. Intended as a gift to the people of America from the people of England to honor the bonds of friendship formed during World War II, she arrived to Plymouth under sail on June 13, 1957 to great fanfare and 25,000 spectators, and since that time has been a major exhibit of Plimoth Plantation. Millions of visitors have crossed her decks to learn about the Pilgrims’ historic journey and 17th-century maritime life.
Despite excellent routine maintenance by Plimoth, MAYFLOWER succumbed to the deterioration process expected of any organic material exposed to natural elements over the course of sixty years. The Museum’s leadership decided to preserve the vessel, which is historic in her own right, through a fundraising campaign which continues today. To support the restoration of MAYFLOWER and her shallop, please visit https://inspire.plimoth.org/mayflower-ii-restoration/.
From 2014 to 2016, Plimoth collaborated with Mystic Seaport Museum, the nation’s leading maritime museum, on off-season stabilization efforts and planning for the three years of continuous work that would take place beginning November 2016. Skilled shipwrights from Mystic Seaport Museum worked alongside Plimoth’s maritime artisans to fully restore the ship according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects. Nearly 70% of the ship’s timbers, planking, structural frames, knees, and beams have been replaced, using six types of wood from eight states and as far away as Denmark. Seaworthy once again, the ship was launched into the Mystic River and re-christened on September 7, 2019 (view the ceremony here: https://youtu.be/bne2m4CFtoM).