Charles W. Morgan News News

The MORGAN Sails to Boston

The Charles W. Morgan will remain docked next to the USS Constitution through July 22, 2014.

Boston — The Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark and America’s oldest commercial vessel still afloat, sailed into Boston on July 15 and docked next to the USS Constitution at the Boston National Historical Park at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The Constitution, built in 1797, is America’s oldest ship, and this is the first time the two vessels have ever been in the same port.

The Morgan sailed to Boston from Provincetown, Mass., after three days of sailing on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, one of the world’s premier whale watching sites. The ship was in the sanctuary as part of a joint collaboration with NOAA to conduct outreach activities highlighting the sanctuary’s role in marine mammal conservation and maritime heritage preservation.

A Dockside Exhibition

The Morgan will be open to the public in Boston from July 18-22. In addition to touring the ship, visitors can learn about the Morgan, whales and whaling, and their importance to American history in a 22,000 square-foot dockside exhibition. There is a video presentation and display panels that explain the history and significance of the 173-year-old vessel, the important role the whaling industry played in America’s economic history, how the Morgan and whaleships were an early connector of different cultures, and how America’s perception of the natural world has changed over time. Hands-on activities include knot-tying, handling samples of wood used in the restoration, and searching theMorgan’s crew lists for familiar names or hometown connections.

A focal point is Spouter, a 46-foot-long, life-sized, inflatable model of a sperm whale. Visitors can participate in a “What Bubbles Up?” activity by writing down their whale-related memory, question, or sketch and attaching it to a humpback whale sculpture.

Mystic Seaport interpreters will demonstrate the 19th-century maritime skills of a cooper, shipsmith, ropemaker, and whaleboat rower. There will also be live performances including sea chanteys, the interactive “Tale of a Whaler,” and a condensed rendition of the novel Moby-Dick, titled “Moby-Dick in Minutes.” Visitors will even have the opportunity to try their hand at rowing a whaleboat during select times.

NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary will have an exhibit booth to explain how the sanctuary interprets America’s maritime past, promotes ocean conservation, and engages in cutting-edge research. They will show how whales feed and what they feed on, and present videos that feature information on the National Marine Sanctuary System, whales, whale research, and whaling heritage. Kids can even create their own whale hat.

The ship and dockside exhibition will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, with the last boarding of the ship to take place at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Additionally, organizations along Boston’s waterfront, including the USS Constitution Museum and the Boston National Historic Park, will be hosting a festival of events to celebrate the Morgan’s stay. Port sponsors for the Morgan’s visit to Boston are Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Walsh Brothers Construction, which uncovered oak timbers buried in the Charlestown Navy Yard and subsequently used in the Morgan’s restoration.

For details on public activities during the Morgan’s visit to Boston, please visit the National Park Service website.