Museum Receives Grant to Support Heritage Trades

Blacksmithing at the Museum
Traditional blacksmithing in the Museum’s shipsmith shop will be part of the training supported by the grant.

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced Mystic Seaport Museum is set to receive funding through the American Rescue Plan to support the rebuilding of the Museum’s Sustainable Maritime Trades and Skills program. The Museum will receive a grant award of more than $40,000 through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which will be used to rebuild its Maritime Trades and Skills program to preserve heritage skills, crafts, and trades at risk of being lost due to pandemic-related staffing and budget cuts. The funding was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319), which Rep. Courtney voted to pass in March.

“These funds are critical to our plans to rebuild and expand our historic trades, crafts and maritime skills program. This will enable us to have our experts cross-train current and new staff members in the arts and crafts of blacksmithing, coopering, wood carving, printing, open-hearth cooking, and the maritime skills of the sailor. It is only by continued professional instruction and sharing with the public that these important aspects of our nation’s history are preserved for future generations,” said Peter Armstrong, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “We are very grateful to Rep. Courtney for his support of this legislation and our museum’s mission to connect every American to their own sea story.”

“The American Rescue Plan has helped us start to overcome a lot of the collateral damage brought on by the pandemic. We’ve seen our towns use Rescue Plan funds to save jobs and support police stations, schools, and fire houses, hundreds of small businesses and restaurants have received relief funding, and it’s good now to see resources supporting jobs at Mystic Seaport Museum while also preserving our region’s maritime heritage,” said Rep. Courtney. “This is an excellent use of American Rescue Plan resources—it will support jobs right off the bat, it helps preserve our region’s history and maritime culture, and it will be used to help folks train and acquire skills that could be used for jobs in the maritime sector. That’s really a triple play, and Peter Armstrong and his team at Mystic Seaport Museum deserve a lot of credit for their work to earn this funding and operate these important programs. Glad to see the American Rescue Plan continuing to provide an assist for hardworking people in eastern Connecticut.”

A federal grant of $40,038 will be awarded to Mystic Seaport Museum through the IMLS American Rescue Plan grant program. The program was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act to assist IMLS in addressing community needs created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and in assisting with the recovery. Projects funded by the program may continue, enhance, or expand existing programs and services, or they may launch new ones to address emergent or unexpected needs.

Through the grant, the Museum will provide extensive technical training, professional development, and independent research opportunities to increase the number of trained staff who can perform and teach maritime skills. The Museum will also hire and train frontline interpretation staff who can share authentic stories of America’s maritime heritage and enhance visitors’ experience to understand the nation’s relationship with the sea.