Mystic Seaport Receives $150,000 Grant from IMLS

Funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will support the Museum's new exhibit on American whaling.
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.