Mystic Seaport Museum Kicks off Mystic Seafest 2021 with A Grand Panorama

Seafest Logo

Mystic, Conn. (May 26, 2021) – Mystic Seaport Museum announces the launch of Mystic Seafest 2021, a summer-long celebration of all things to do with the ocean in an ongoing series of events at the Museum from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day. The festival begins with the opening of the new exhibition A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World on May 29.

Mystic Seafest 2021 will offer entertainment for the entire family and for those who simply want to enjoy a day by the beautiful Mystic River. Under the theme “Come celebrate life on the ocean wave!”, the Museum will host a continuing series of concerts, boat shows and parades, new exhibits, artists-in-residence, maritime lectures, and other programming related to the ocean.

The Museum will kick off Seafest with the opening of its newest exhibition, A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World, in collaboration with the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Panorama, which is owned and conserved by the Whaling Museum, is the longest painting in North America, as well as a rich tapestry of fascinating narratives that delight, inform and entertain. The Panorama recreates the experience of a whaling voyage, detailing the remarkable sights that only whalemen were privileged to see. It depicts the story of whaling and the cultural ties born of this global industry, now ingrained in the unique multi-cultural landscape of New England.

In an era before the age of cinema, the painting traveled the country as a “moving” panorama. It was how curious people without the means or inclination to travel were transported to exotic locales in the 1800s. The Panorama was a performance spectacle, scrolling across a stage on giant spools with accompanying theatrics and narration. Although the painting will not be shown again as a moving panorama, which would undo the extensive conservation efforts, Mystic Seaport Museum will display one 30-foot scene at a time, accompanied by a 34-minute narrated digital film that depicts the entire painting much as it would have been seen in 1848.

Visitors are encouraged to pick up their free Grand Panorama Passport souvenir. The Museum will be issuing stamps for each port of call and each scene — there are 15 over the course of the exhibition. Awards will be given to those with multiple stamps throughout the show’s run and there will be a special prize for those who collect all 15 at the end.

The exhibition runs through March 27, 2022.

Mystic Seafest 2021 signals the Museum’s return to pre-COVID levels of operation with the historic village, indoor exhibits, the shipyard, children’s activities, and waterfront boat rides all returning for the summer season. Memorial Day Weekend begins Seafest with a wide range of additional programs and activities, including:

Live music at 3:00 p.m. each day (included with admission):

Other activities:

  • Curator talks about the Grand Panorama
  • Panorama-related art activities and games
  • At 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the fireboat Firefighterwill have a water display using all of the water cannons (known as monitors) on the boat.
  • A “Cetacean Celebration on Monday with three life-size inflatable whales and experts from the Whale & Dolphin Conservation USAavailable to answer your questions.
  • The Traditional Small Craft Association’s gathering of sailing and rowing boats at the Small Craft Workshop
  • Antique truck rides around the Village Green in a Model A Ford.

Highlights of the schedule for the summer are a dealer boat show and antique boat parade, two artists-in-residence, the annual Moby-Dick marathon, an antique marine engine exposition, an evening concert series, and the return of The WoodenBoat Show on August 20-22. Numerous additional pop-up events are in the planning stage. More details available on the Museum’s website (mysticseaport.org) and social media accounts.

Panorama Media


“The Grand Panorama at Mystic Seaport Museum”: youtu.be/Qmgc6wektmg 


Exhibition Page: mysticseaport.org/panorama
Panorama History: bit.ly/3fOz7vQ


Images available upon request.


A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World is a collaboration between Mystic Seaport Museum and the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which owns and conserves the painting.

Media Contact

Dan McFadden
Director of Communications
Mystic Seaport Museum
860.572.5317 (o)
860.333.7155 (m)

About Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the world. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.