Charles W. Morgan News News

MORGAN Hauled for Maintenance

The CHARLES W. MORGAN hauled in the Shipyard for routine maintenance on September 28, 2016.
The CHARLES W. MORGAN hauled in the Shipyard for routine maintenance on September 28, 2016.

The Charles W. Morgan was hauled from the Mystic River in the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard on Wednesday morning at high tide. The ship will be out of the water for approximately one month for routine maintenance. Every effort will be made to keep the vessel open to visitors, but there will be periods when the work will require limiting access.

The Morgan was maneuvered from her berth at Chubb’s Wharf into the Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift. Divers then inspected the meeting of the vessel’s bottom with the haul-out cradles, grounded the vessel on the cradle blocks, set the side support struts and poppets, and then the ship was slowly raised from the water. Once at ground level,  she was hauled forward, ashore, over a concrete pad for power washing and cleaning. The pad contains a series of pipes and drains that collect waste water effluent from power washing and allow the Shipyard to dispose of the collected waste by sending it out for proper treatment and processing. This system prevents waste water from flowing back into the Mystic River.

After washing the Morgan will be “sidetracked” to the work station parallel to the hauling tracks, and a gangway will be established allowing visitors to board the ship while she is being worked on.

“Work will be principally routine bottom maintenance. We’ll scrape barnacles and sea grass from the bottom, remove lose paint, check and renew bottom caulking and seam compound as necessary, then give her two good coats of anti-fouling bottom paint before re-launching,” said  Quentin Snediker, director of the Shipyard.”

The haul-out process will likely last four weeks. In late October she’ll be re-launched, returned to her berth at Chubb’s Wharf and re-opened to visitors. She’ll be re-rigged in late spring in time for the busy visitor season next summer.

Preparation for hauling began in late August by down rigging the vessel and concluded this past week with the removal 25 tons of ballast and a few remaining elements of rigging and spars. The Shipyard removes her rig to perform maintenance and lower the overall center of gravity for the haul-out. Removing ballast lessens the stress on the hull and helps to establish the desired fore-and-aft trim for landing on the cradles in the Shiplift that support the vessel.

“We have three large vessels in our collection and we haul one each fall for routine maintenance and repair,” said Snediker. “This rotation has worked well for decades in preserving our large historic watercraft.”

This marks the first time Charles W. Morgan will be hauled for maintenance since her launch in July of 2013 at the completion of her six-year restoration followed by her 38th Voyage in 2014. Hauling her routinely for maintenance will preserve the restoration work recently accomplished for at least a generation.

Charles W. Morgan News News

The MORGAN Turns 175


On July 21, 1841, the Hillman Brothers shipyard in New Bedford launched their latest whaleship, soon to be named the Charles W. Morgan. Of those present that day, who would have thought that the ship would still be around 175 years later? But after an 80-year career in the whaling fishery, and surviving hurricanes, icebergs, neglect, and 38 Voyages that spanned the globe–the latest in 2014–the Morgan is still afloat and still telling the story of America’s maritime heritage. Here’s to 175 more years!

Image Gallery

Click on the first image to start a slide show.

Charles W. Morgan News News

The 38th Voyage Goes Digital

In the summer of 2014, the Charles W. Morgan sailed for the first time in more than 90 years on her 38th Voyage. After nearly three months away from Mystic Seaport on a journey that took her to Boston and back, including three days sailing in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the ship returned to the Museum with new understanding, knowledge, and lots and lots of stories. Now, the Museum has launched a new website to share it all.

38th Voyage Home Page
The home page of the new 38th Voyage website https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/voyage/

The website is both an online archive and exhibit that will allow anyone anywhere to explore the perspectives on the 38th Voyage including personal experiences, professional work, and lessons learned. The website is a dynamic repository for these never-before-seen photos, videos, and written reflections.

Central to the site is the ongoing work of the 38th Voyagers. These 85 individuals each sailed on board the Morgan for a day and completed personal and professional projects in a variety of disciplines. The artistic impressions, poems, scientific data, lesson plans, and scholarly work each capture a different aspect of sailing the world’s last wooden whaleship. Visitors to the site can also explore work from the ship’s crew, museum staff, and the Morgan’s Stowaway Ryan Leighton.

Each item on the site is categorized by many different attributes, such as port city and type of content. The “Stories” tab groups items around 38th Voyage themes such as “Whales”, “Global Connections”, “Science and Conservation”, and “Moby-Dick and Literature.” This online home for the 38th Voyage allows connections to be made between different themes, media, and creators in a living, interdisciplinary display.

The 38th Voyage website can be found at www.mysticseaport.org/voyage/ and is also accessible to Museum visitors via a touch screen display in the “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” exhibit. The website continues to grow as more content is added and more connections are made, so visitors are encouraged to check back often.

Charles W. Morgan News News

A Fond Farewell

Robert Lane
Robert Lane aboard Congar in 2013 / Photo courtesy Christopher Finn

Mystic Seaport and the maritime community bid farewell to Robert “Bob” Lane. Mr. Lane, 89, passed away peacefully January 15, 2015 in Lewiston, Maine, with his family by his side.

A former Sea Scout, Lane was aboard the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan when she came up the Mystic River and arrived at Mystic Seaport on November 8, 1941. He shared some of his memories from that historic moment when he attended the Morgan‘s 70th Anniversary Celebration in 2011.


During World War II, at 19 years old, Lane captained a sea-going tug which helped build the artificial harbors that allowed tanks and heavy equipment to get ashore during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. In 1951 he started the Penobscot Boat Works, “Penbo,” in Rockport, Maine, with his father, Carl D. Lane. The boat shop turned out a diverse stable of high-quality wooden vessels ranging from runabouts to their unique trawler-hulled, ocean-going luxury cruisers. Their innovative designs changed the world of cruising houseboats and are still celebrated. After retirement, Lane and his wife, Esther, made 10 voyages to the Bahamas on the Penbo-built Star of Maine. Beginning in 1966, summers were spent on Cranberry Island in Muscongus Bay. In later years, Lane spent his time building ship models and some of his works are on display at the Bath Maritime Museum.

“He was quite a man who lived quite a life,” said Charles W. Morgan Historian Matthew Stackpole.

Lane is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, his sister, four children, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

Charles W. Morgan News News

“This Old House” Tours the CHARLES W. MORGAN

The Charles W. Morgan will be featured on the October 25 episode of “This Old House” on PBS. When the 1841 whaleship arrived in Boston this past summer on her 38th Voyage, the show’s host Richard Trethewey took some time to stop by the Morgan to interview the ship’s historian, Matthew Stackpole, and to film a segment on the historic vessel. “This Old House” is presently renovating an 1850 Greek Revival row house in Boston’s historic Charlestown, located just down the hill from the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. The show’s crew felt that the Morgan and her recent restoration were a good compliment to their current project.

“This Old House” episode 4, “Wood and Water,” will air Saturday, October 25 on WEDH (CPTV) at 7 p.m. and on WGBH at 5 p.m. To find out when the show airs in your market, please visit their website and enter your zip code. In addition, episodes can also be viewed on Create Network as well as streamed through the PBS app on Apple TV and Roku boxes. Full episodes are available online the Sunday after each episode’s original airdate via the following link: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tv/video.

Mystic Seaport is grateful to “This Old House” for inclusion in the program.

Charles W. Morgan News News

Mystic Seaport Receives $150,000 Grant from IMLS

The grant will support state-of-the-art components of the Museum’s new exhibition on American whaling.

Mystic Seaport announced September 18 it is the recipient of a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support  components of the Museum’s new exhibit “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers.” The award is part of the Institute’s Museums for America Learning Experiences program.

The new 4,000-square foot exhibit will be an interdisciplinary exploration of America’s historic and contemporary relationship with whales and whaling. Using artifacts and artwork, along with compelling audio-visual elements and immersive displays, the experience will provide insight into commercial whaling’s complex and deep impact on the nation’s economy, culture, and global position. It will also explore whaling’s historic and environmental legacy.

“Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” follows the historic 38th Voyage of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan this past summer. The Morgan, a National Historic Landmark vessel, sailed from Mystic, Conn. to ports across Southern New England and into the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This was the ship’s first voyage since 1921.

“This exhibit will be the final chapter in the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan,” said Mystic Seaport president Steve White. “Through our continuing series of onboard, onsite, and online public programs, we continue to reinterpret the ship for a 21st-century audience in ways that surprise and intrigue the visitor.”

This grant will fund an introductory video and a large 3D projection globe that will weave together global stories of whales, whaling, and whale research in an inspiring multimedia presentation. The globe will be a striking, luminous orb at the center of the exhibit that will draw visitors into a unique experience.

“These state-of-the-art components will enable us to present the themes of the exhibit in exciting, powerful ways,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president of Mystic Seaport. “They will play a vital role in our mission to encourage the visitor to explore how American perceptions of whales and whaling took dramatic turns over time, and how America’s whaling heritage continues to shape communities and culture today.”

“Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” is scheduled to open in the Museum’s Stillman Building in summer 2015.

Charles W. Morgan News News

38th Voyage Complete

The Charles W. Morgan passing through the Mystic River Bascule Bridge on her way to Mystic Seaport on August 6, 2014
The Charles W. Morgan passing through Mystic’s Bascule Bridge on her way to Mystic Seaport on August 6

The Charles W. Morgan was welcomed home to Mystic Seaport on August 6 following the completion of this summer’s historic 38th Voyage. The 19th-century whaleship was towed from City Pier in New London to the Museum, where she is now tied up at her traditional berth at Chubb’s Wharf.

Built in New Bedford, Mass. in 1841, the Morgan sailed 37 voyages around the globe during an 80-year whaling career. This past May, following a five-year, multi-million dollar restoration, the ship set out on her last voyage— perhaps her most important— to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. It was the first time the National Historic Landmark had left Mystic Seaport since her arrival in 1941.

With Captain Richard “Kip” Files at the helm, the Morgan departed Mystic Seaport May 17 and visited New London, Conn., Newport, R.I., Vineyard Haven, Mass., New Bedford, Mass., the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal.

“The nearly three-month journey was a commemoration of the role of the sea in the history of America and an appreciation of our changing relationship with the natural world,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “Taking this American icon, the oldest surviving commercial ship in the country, out on her 38th Voyage was a landmark achievement for Mystic Seaport. We truly accomplished our mission to celebrate our nation’s shared maritime heritage.”

More than 64,000 visitors climbed aboard the Morgan and visited dockside exhibitions during the 38th Voyage. Highlights of the journey included the ship’s homecoming to New Bedford, docking next to the USS Constitution in Boston, and teaming up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at Stellwagen Bank to observe whales in their natural environment.

“For Mystic Seaport the 38th Voyage represents a dynamic new model for engaging with the public. We have added to the whaleship’s historical record and now have a powerful body of knowledge, sensory experiences, images, sounds, and visceral and artistic human responses that all contribute to our understanding of 19th-century whaling and the human-whale dynamic,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president of Mystic Seaport. “The voyage has reinforced our vision of the role of museums in the 21st century, and how museums like Mystic Seaport can play a vital, continued role in education — how the objects we preserve, like the Charles W. Morgan, are no longer simply static exhibits but rather dynamic, ever-changing platforms for public engagement.”

Throughout the voyage, some 80 individuals from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds sailed aboard the ship and participated in an unprecedented public-history project as 38th Voyagers. This group, which included artists, historians, scientists, journalists, teachers, musicians, scholars and whaling descendants, documented and filtered their experience aboard the Morgan and will produce a creative product for Mystic Seaport to share with the public.

“The Charles W. Morgan is an exceptional and truly unique artifact of our shared maritime heritage,” said White. “While the ship is an American icon and a living portal into an important chapter of American history, she now embarks on a new journey with transformed purpose. She’s no longer an instrument of commerce but a source of education, knowledge, and understanding. The 38th Voyage was truly seeing history come alive.”

Charles W. Morgan News News

Coming Home

The Charles W. Morgan arriving in Mystic, Conn., November 1941
The Charles W. Morgan, shown here arriving in Mystic in 1941, will again travel through the bascule bridge on her way back to Mystic Seaport on August 6, 2014.

Mystic — Mystic Seaport will welcome the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan back from her historic 38th Voyage on Wednesday, August 6. The ship, which is scheduled to depart City Pier in New London at 2 p.m, will be towed to the Museum and is estimated to arrive at 5:30 p.m.

Current plans have the Morgan entering the mouth of the Mystic River about 3:45 p.m., although weather and sea conditions could affect the arrival time and people interested in viewing the journey should factor in the possibility that the vessel could be ahead of schedule. Updates on the ship’s progress will be posted on the Mystic Seaport website.

A homecoming ceremony will begin immediately upon the ship’s arrival. The public is invited to gather at Chubb’s Wharf to welcome the ship back to the Museum. Elements from the 38th Voyage dockside exhibit will be set up on the wharf, including Spouter, a life-size, inflatable sperm whale model. Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern will also remain open for food and beverage service, although Museum exhibits will close at 5 p.m.

There will be a reduced admission of $5 beginning at 5 p.m. Children ages 5 and younger and Mystic Seaport members will be admitted for free.

Should weather prevent the ship from arriving on August 6, it will transit from New London on Thursday, August 7 or Friday, August 8. Specific timing is to be determined.

The Morgan will reopen to visitors on Saturday, August 9.

Charles W. Morgan News News

Last Stop on Historic Voyage

The <em>Charles W. Morgan</em> arrived at New London's City Pier in the early hours of the morning on July 30.
The Charles W. Morgan arrived at New London’s City Pier in the early hours of the morning on July 30.

After a long transit from Buzzards Bay, Mass., the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan arrived at City Pier in New London, Conn. early in the morning on Wednesday, July 30. Due to the length of the journey, the ship was towed and not sailed on this leg of the voyage. This is the last stop on an historic 38th Voyage that included port visits in Newport, R.I., Vineyard Haven, Mass., New Bedford, Mass., the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.

While in New London, the vessel will head out onto Long Island Sound for three final day sails on July 31 and August 1-2. The ship will not be open to the public during this time.

The Morgan is scheduled to make her triumphant return to Mystic Seaport at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 6. A homecoming celebration, set to begin at 5 p.m., will await her arrival at Chubb’s Wharf. Elements of the 38th Voyage dockside exhibition that accompanied the ship’s port visits, including Spouter, the 46-foot long inflatable sperm whale, will be set up and open to visitors. Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern will remain open for food and beverage service, although Museum exhibits will be closed after 5 p.m.

Mystic Seaport will offer a reduced admission of $5 on August 6. Museum members and children ages 5 and younger will be admitted for free.

In the event of a weather delay on August 6, the Morgan‘s return to Mystic Seaport will be rescheduled for August 7 or, if need be, August 8. Please visit the 38th Voyage homepage for the latest information on the status of the Morgan.

The Charles W. Morgan will reopen to the public at Mystic Seaport on August 9.

Charles W. Morgan News News

MORGAN to Celebrate Cape Cod Canal Centennial

The CHARLES W. MORGAN will leave Boston on July 23 and make her way to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The Morgan will leave Boston on July 23 and make her way to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

The Charles W. Morgan will travel from Boston to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Wednesday, July 23 to take part in the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal. The ship will be towed through the canal at approximately 6 p.m. Any delay due to weather will be posted on the Mystic Seaport website.

The ship will dock at the academy and be open for public boarding on Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27.

This is the last major stop on the Morgan’s 38th Voyage. A National Historic Landmark, the Morgan was built in 1841 and sailed on 37 voyages around the globe during an 80-year whaling career. This voyage, the ship’s 38th, was undertaken to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. The ship departed Mystic Seaport on May 17 and visited New London, Conn., Newport, R.I., Vineyard Haven, Mass., New Bedford, Mass., the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and Boston, where she tied up next to the USS Constitution.

Ship and Dockside Exhibit Open to Visitors July 26-27

The Morgan will be accompanied by a dockside exhibition, where visitors can learn about the ship, whales and whaling, and their importance to America. A video presentation and display panels 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 the Morgan’s crew lists for familiar names or hometown connections.

Kids can even make their own whale hat at NOAA's exhibit booth.
Kids can make their own whale hat at NOAA’s exhibit booth.

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.

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. There is a suggested admission of $5 for those ages 6 and older. Mystic Seaport members and children ages 5 and younger are admitted free.

The Mystic Seaport dockside exhibition is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).