New Mystic Seaport Website

We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new Mystic Seaport website. With help from all areas of the Museum, the site has fresh photos, an enhanced calendar of events, more news and My Trip–a personal organizer for planning your next visit. Here’s a quick tour:

  • New home page image gallery.
  • Extra-deep main menus, so you can explore the whole Museum just by pointing at them on any page.
  • Quick access to the information you need to plan your visit: Today’s Schedule and all the logistics–Directions, Hours and Admission.
  • My Trip, a personal visit planner. As you’re browsing the website, you can use the “Add to My Trip” buttons to save locations and events that you don’t want to miss. Come back to My Trip at any time to view, print or share your plan with others.
  • The events calendar. The news from Mystic Seaport. And, maritime history news from around the world.
  • Connect, a constantly updated view of Mystic Seaport on the web–in the news, on blogs, on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you enjoy the new site, and we look forward to seeing you at the Museum.

Charles W. Morgan News News

Ric Burns to Speak at Launch

Ric Burns
Ric Burns

Ric Burns, the award-winning documentary filmmaker, will deliver the keynote address at the launch of the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport on July 21, 2013. The National Historic Landmark ship has been undergoing a comprehensive restoration since November, 2008. She will be launched and returned to the water in a public ceremony that begins at 2 p.m.

Burns is best known for his acclaimed series New York: A Documentary Film, a sweeping chronicle of the city’s history, which garnered several honors, including two Emmy Awards and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. Burns’ career began with the celebrated series The Civil War, which he produced with his brother, Ken Burns, and co-wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. In 1991, Ric founded Steeplechase Films and has since written and directed a number of award-winning films for PBS, including Coney Island, The Donner Party, The Way West, Eugene O’Neill, and Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film. Burns most recently finished Death and the Civil War, a film based on the best-selling book This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by acclaimed historian and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust.  In 2010, Burns wrote, produced, and co-directed for American Experience a film about the history of the whaling industry, Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World.

Mystic Seaport President Steve White said, “We are honored to have Ric Burns serve as the keynote speaker at our launch ceremony. His extensive knowledge of American history and the role whaling plays in it will help us articulate the importance of the Charles W. Morgan in our nation’s maritime experience.

The Morgan is the oldest American commercial ship still in existence. The 113-foot vessel was built and launched in New Bedford in 1841 and had a whaling career that lasted 80 years and 37 voyages that spanned the far reaches of the globe. The ship came to Mystic Seaport in 1941. More than 20 million people have walked her decks since she arrived.

The launch is a key milestone in her restoration, which has been carried out at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at the Museum. Once back in the water, work will continue with the installation of her spars and rigging, additional interior carpentry, and preparation for her 38th Voyage to begin in May, 2014. The Voyage will take the ship back to sea on a tour to historic ports in New England, including New London, Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, Provincetown, and Boston. Each port visit will include an interactive dockside program designed to inspire excitement and interest in America’s maritime heritage.  The ship will also sail through the whale-watching grounds of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to recognize the changing relationship of mankind to the whale.

Charles W. Morgan News News

MORGAN Shed Removal

Have you visited the Shipyard to see the Charles W. Morgan lately? Now is a good time. Last month the plastic cover was removed from the scaffolding and now the majority of the shed has also been removed, providing optimal viewing of the whaleship before she returns to the water on July 21.

Though removing the plastic cover and shed took many hours, you can watch the process in a little over a minute thanks to the skill of our Film & Video Department. You’ll also see a majority of the Morgan‘s hull being painted, too. Enjoy!

Charles W. Morgan News News

The Shutter Plank

Final Spike
Shipyard staff member Sean Patrick Kelly drives the final golden spike on the shutter plank.

Shipwrights at Mystic Seaport installed the final plank on the hull of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan on Friday, May 10. Known as the shutter plank because it “shuts in” and completes the hull, the achievement is traditionally a moment of celebration in the shipbuilding process.

The 20-foot long plank of yellow pine was placed on the port side quarter of the hull near the waterline. It was steamed for several hours prior to installation to make it flexible, lifted into position, and spiked in place. Each member of the Shipyard crew working on the restoration signed the plank.

The last spike used to fasten the plank was gold-plated to mark the occasion. F. M. Callahan & Son of Malden, Mass. donated the plating. Company president Eric Jackin presented the 10-inch long fastener to the Museum in an informal ceremony Friday afternoon.

”This moment is a milestone in the continuing voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. The shutter plank is just one small part of the ship’s fabric, but it is emblematic of all the parts, and of all the people, that are coming together to take the ship back to sea for her 38th Voyage in 2014,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White.

Visitors and Museum staff watch as the shutter plank is maneuvered into position.

The Morgan has been undergoing a comprehensive restoration in the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard since November 2008. The project addresses significant structural issues in the hull below the waterline and in the bow and stern. While the shutter plank marks the end of principle hull restoration, Museum shipwrights must finish caulking, fairing, and painting the hull prior to launch.

The ship is scheduled to be launched on Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m. in a public ceremony in the Shipyard. Once back in the water, the Morgan will remain berthed at the Museum’s lift dock through the completion of the project. The shipwrights need to build and restore many peripheral details, build and restore spars, and restore and install the rig. With rare exception, the ship will remain accessible to visitors to board and explore.

Once the restoration is complete in late May 2014, the Morgan will embark on a ceremonial 38th Voyage to historic ports in New England to celebrate the importance of America’s maritime heritage. After a period of refitting and sea trials based in New London, Conn., the ship will sail to Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, Provincetown, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and Boston. She will also participate in the centennial celebration of the Cape Cod Canal.