Heritage Grant to Support L.A. DUNTON Restoration

The $103,703 award will fund the survey and documentation of the 1921 Gloucester fishing schooner.
File image of the 1921 fishing Schooner L.A. DUNTON (Credit: Mystic Seaport Museum)
A file image of the 1921 fishing Schooner L.A. DUNTON (Credit: Mystic Seaport Museum)

Mystic Seaport Museum has been named the recipient of a 2018 National Maritime Heritage Grant. The $103,703 award will fund the survey and documentation of the fishing schooner L.A. Dunton in preparation for restoration at the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.

Built in 1921 in Essex, Mass., the 123-foot-long Dunton is one of the last surviving examples of the Grand Banks fishing schooners, once one of New England’s most common fishing vessels in the beginning of the twentieth century. The Dunton was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

“We are very grateful to be the recipient of this grant to support our continued stewardship of the L.A. Dunton, which provides an irreplaceable connection to the fishing history of New England,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “The funding will enable us to move ahead with critical infrastructure improvements and necessary documentation.”

L.A. DUNTON arriving at Mystic Seaport for the first time.
L.A. DUNTON arriving at Mystic Seaport in 1964.

The Dunton was acquired by Mystic Seaport Museum in 1963. Since that time the vessel underwent several restorations, the most significant in 1973-1977 when the vessel received new topside framing, planking, and deck. The below deck spaces were restored to the original fisherman configuration. Bottom portions of her hull have never received comprehensive restoration. The planned work will address the vessel’s bottom, topsides, deck, and rigging to maintain her historic and structural integrity.

This planning grant will address steps required in advance of the restoration including upgrades to the Museum’s shiplift; a complete structural survey of the vessel to determine materials needed, work flow, and staffing; and documentation of the Dunton’s current condition using modern laser-scanning technology. The documentation work will allow the Museum to record the vessel’s present shape and detail, and recreate her original form and structural integrity.

About the Maritime Heritage Grants

The award is part of $2.6 million in maritime heritage grants given out by the National Park Service to assist funding 34 preservation and education projects in 14 states and the Northern Mariana Islands. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), the National Park Service awarded grants for projects that teach about and preserve sites and objects related to our nation’s maritime history.

“From exploration, to industry, and military conflict, these grant projects tell the story of our nation’s history through a maritime lens,” National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said in a press release. “Through a collaborative effort, the National Park Service is dedicated to conserving these treasures and enhancing public awareness of our maritime heritage.”

“Since 2014, MARAD has provided more than $7 million in funding to support our nation’s maritime heritage projects,” added Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “These ships, lighthouses and other strategic maritime vessels have played an integral role in our nation’s success at sea. By preserving these maritime artifacts, we hope to inspire future generations with America’s maritime legacy.”

The National Maritime Heritage Program Grant awards are made possible through a partnership between the two federal agencies, which both share a commitment to maritime heritage preservation and education. They are funded through recycling of vessels from the MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. The grant program supports a broad range of maritime education and preservation projects, without expending tax dollars, while ensuring that the vessels are dismantled in an environmentally sound manner.

Other organizations receiving grants include the USS Constitution Museum, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, New York’s South Street Seaport Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the Maritime Museum Association of San Diego.

For a complete list of grant recipients, please view the National Park Service press release.