The Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut is an entertaining journey through 19th-century nautical life. The museum consists of three main exhibits: the historic ships, the authentic seaport village and exhibits, and the preservation shipyard.
In this part of New England, the coastline was once home to large whaling fleets, many of which were built along these shores. The city of Mystic had its share of shipbuilding yards. The reproduction of the seaport village is an authentic and accurate representation of life in a New England maritime town.
The authentic seaport village and exhibits
Entering the museum from the North Entrance, you will come across a few exhibitions, including the Children's Museum and the Treworgy Planetarium.
Check out the Wendell Gallery and make sure you spend time inside the "Figureheads & Shipcarvings" exhibits or visit the new exhibition "A Spectacle in Motion: Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage 'Round the World," where you have the chance to join a whaling voyage "'round the world", earn stamps on your free Grand Panorama Passport and get rewards!
Time to enter the scrupulously recreated and authentic village exhibits and galleries featuring several buildings moved from other New England and Northeast towns.
There are over 40 delightful exhibitions, including nautical shops where you can discover rope making, rigging, cooperage, and the sail loft.
You can't miss the Mystic River Scale Model and the Shopsmith shop displays!
The historic ships
Tall ships have always been fascinating to people, and Mystic Seaport has a fantastic collection in the museum dock area.
The most popular to explore is the Charles W. Morgan – an excellent example of a wooden whaling ship. It made 37 journeys between 1841 and 1921.
Other beautiful vessels in the museum collection are the Joseph Conrad and the L.A.Dunton, the Emma C. Berry, and the Sabino.
The Emma C. was launched in 1866, and since then, has undergone many changes as a fishing vessel and a coastal freighter. Ensure enough time to tour all the ships as they are the centerpiece of the Mystic Seaport Museum.
You can also take a 30 or 90-minute cruise on the Sabino steamboat as it travels up and down the Mystic River, a great way to take a break and relax.
The Preservation Shipyard
In the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, many old mastercraft shipbuilding skills are still practiced to keep the museum ships in great shape.
Many of these skills are being lost over time as wooden ships fell into disuse and the number of businesses around them has been reduced over the years.
Luckily, in this corner of the world, shipbuilding skills are still practiced and preserved for the excellent maintenance of the vessels.
In the yard, you'll see a rigging loft, a paint shop, carpenters and metalworking shops, a lumber shed, an old-fashioned sawmill, and several examples of marine engines. The Research and Documentation Shop contains records used by the museum's craftsmen to keep the ships looking accurate while preserving them.
Take a look behind the Henry B. duPont Shipyard scene visiting the Shipyard Gallery, where you can admire a model of the Shipyard and documents on the work the museum's employees do and have done in the past to restore and preserve historic vessels.
The Mystic Seaport Museum also offers activities for children and their families, overnight programs, workshop and classes, boat rides, and a 19 acres garden designed as an educational tool to teach visitors about New England's horticultural history, thanks to the wide variety of trees and shrubs carefully labeled.
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