Museum awarded $821,000 in Federal funding to Support Education Programming and the Historic Watercraft Collection

Mystic Seaport Museum is pleased to announce the receipt of two federal grants totaling $821,000 to support the Museum’s Center for Experiential Education and the historic watercraft collection. The Museum extends their gratitude to Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy for their support in securing this funding.

The Museum’s Center for Experiential Education Maritime Adventure Program will receive $570,000 from the U.S Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Education. The Maritime Adventure Program (MAP) engages under-resourced youth in experiential maritime and STEM education anchored in positive youth development to enhance their social, emotional, and leadership skills while also developing job skills. The program serves high school students affiliated with New London Youth Affairs in New London County, Connecticut. MAP aims to bridge Connecticut’s “opportunity gap” by offering young people from diverse backgrounds the chance to gain skills in marine carpentry, sailing, powerboating, astronomy, and navigation, along with learning about maritime heritage and marine conservation. Central to the program’s success is its positive youth development and mentoring model. Participants build confidence and competence through experiences and are encouraged to contribute their voices and take on leadership roles. All MAP participants will have the opportunity to apply their skills through off-campus experiential learning activities and participate in paid job readiness training, teaching essential workforce skills.  

A $251,000 grant from the National Park Service Save America’s Treasures Grant Program, will support preservation of and access to the Museum’s small craft collection. The watercraft collection at Mystic Seaport Museum began in 1931 with the acquisition of its first vessel, the sandbagger Annie, and over the last 90 years has grown to be the largest watercraft collection in the United States. It includes crafts ranging from rowboats to schooners and ships, rowing craft, canoes, and powered craft. This grant will aid in continued preservation efforts through support for the Wells Boat Hall within the Museum’s historic Rossie Velvet Mill.  

Museum President and CEO Peter Armstrong said, “We are pleased to receive this generous funding in recognition of the Museum’s continued effort to preserve historic artifacts while also using the maritime experience to positively impact youth for their future. We are rooted in history, but not stuck in the past, and we recognize our unique position to both protect and influence.” 

“This $821,000 investment will empower youth in our communities, supplying them with experiential programming at Mystic Seaport Museum, and help preserve the Museum’s nationally significant historic watercraft collection. Connecticut has a proud maritime history that must be protected and celebrated. I am proud to have advocated for federal funding for Mystic Seaport Museum, a leading national maritime museum,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. 

“The Mystic Seaport Museum is not only an incredible place to visit and learn about Connecticut’s seafaring past, but their team is also doing important work to shape the next generation of maritime leaders. The Maritime Adventure Program is a unique opportunity for high school students in New London to develop tangible skills like marine carpentry and sailing and learn more about conservation. I was proud to help secure this federal funding that will make sure more kids in the community have the chance to learn and grow at the Museum,” said Senator Chris Murphy.  

The Mystic Seaport Museum Center for Experiential Education serves over 10,000 students in 14 districts across the state in afterschool, overnight, and day programs. The Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in existence. The collection offers an overview of seafaring vessels’ development across time and culture. 

About Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum is the nation’s leading maritime Museum. Founded in 1929 to gather and preserve the rapidly disappearing artifacts of America’s seafaring past, the Museum has grown to become a national center for research and education with the mission to “inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.” The Museum’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut, and include a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. The Museum is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan. For more information, please visit mysticseaport.org and follow the Museum on Facebook, X, YouTube, and Instagram.