Mayflower II, the historic reproduction of America’s most famous ship, was officially launched by ship owner Plimoth Plantation at Mystic Seaport CT on Saturday, September 7, 2019.
Officials from Plimoth Plantation, Mystic Seaport Museum and the ship’s restoration crew were on hand to celebrate the launch following a three-year, $11.3 million restoration that is nearly complete. The work is being done at Mystic Seaport Museum’s Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard.
Plimoth Plantation’s Executive Director Ellie Donovan said, “Launching Mayflower is an incredibly exciting and significant restoration milestone. Our dedicated maritime staff have been working diligently alongside the talented team from Mystic Seaport Museum for nearly three years to make one of the world’s most iconic ships seaworthy again. We look forward to celebrating her return to the water and welcoming visitors on board next year.”
Mystic Seaport Museum President Steve White said, “We are very proud to have contributed our knowledge and expertise of the restoration of historic vessels to enable the ship to participate in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620. This partnership is an example of how two museums can successfully collaborate to achieve a complex project within tight time constraints.”
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) was a Leadership-level Sponsor of Mayflower II’s Official Launch Event.
MOTT Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall said, “This is such a perfect alignment and we are thrilled to have MOTT partner with Plimoth Plantation in support of this significant moment in history.”
Historian Nathaniel Philbrick served as the keynote speaker for the event. He called the Mayflower “A symbol, a source of inspiration for those in search of new beginnings and the possibility of multicultural cooperation in this nation of immigrants.
“Upon her return to Plymouth Harbor,” Philbrick continued, “she will once again become a kind of time machine, a fascinating floating theater” whose historians will “transport the visitors to Plimoth Plantation to a past that only gains in resonance and importance with each passing day.”
The Mayflower II is a re-creation of the original Mayflower. Built in England in the 1950s, it was given to the United States as a gift to honor the cooperation between the two countries during World War II.
Mayflower II is slated to remain in Mystic until next spring when she heads to Boston May 14-19, 2020, for Mayflower Sails 2020, a free maritime festival at the Charlestown Navy Yard, followed by her long-awaited homecoming to Plymouth, Massachusetts on May 21, 2020.
The Mayflower Sails 2020 Maritime Festival coincides with a year-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts in 1620. Other major events are being held in Plymouth, Provincetown and other places in Massachusetts being organized by Plymouth 400, Plimoth Plantation and Provincetown 400.
Historians note that on September 6, 1620, the original Mayflower departed England, carrying 102 passengers. The voyage took 66 days.
For more about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.