Plymouth, Massachusetts (October 30, 2020) – Plimoth Patuxet Museums (formerly Plimoth Plantation) is proud to announce that Mayflower II, its historic tall ship, has been named to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the Nation’s historic structures and places worthy of preservation.
In September, the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) unanimously approved Mayflower II’s nomination following a process that spanned five years and resulted in a 70-page document detailing the ship’s history, the 17th-century stories it represents, and the recently-completed restoration.
The MHC deemed Mayflower II historically significant for its association with the founding story of the United States and as a full-scale ship that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a 17th-century English merchant vessel. Designed by renowned naval architect William A. Baker, the ship also was acknowledged for starting a trend of building reproduction vessels.
Built in Brixham, Devon, England from 1955 to 1957, Mayflower II memorializes renewed international alliances during World War II. The reproduction vessel arrived to Plymouth under sail on June 13, 1957 to great fanfare and 25,000 spectators. Since then, under Plimoth Plantation’s stewardship, millions of visitors have crossed her decks to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey.
Despite routine maintenance, the ship succumbed to the deterioration process expected of any organic material exposed to natural elements over the course of sixty years. Plimoth’s leadership decided to preserve the vessel and, in 2015, embarked on a collaboration with Mystic Seaport Museum to stabilize the ship and make her seaworthy once again. Skilled shipwrights and artisans from Mystic and Plimoth fully restored the ship according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation. Nearly 70% of the ship’s timbers, planking, structural frames, knees, and beams were replaced, using six types of wood from eight states and as far away as Denmark.
Fundraising for the restoration continues, with $1.9 million still to raise. The museum aims to exceed that and establish a fund for Mayflower’s future maintenance in order to preserve and interpret this remarkable ship for another 60 years.
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About Plimoth Patuxet Museums
Through powerful personal experiences of history, Plimoth Patuxet Museums tell the stories of the Wampanoag people and the English colonists who created a new society – in collaboration and in conflict – in the 1600s. Major exhibits include Mayflower II, the historic Patuxet Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, and the Plimoth Grist Mill. Located less than an hour’s drive south of Boston, and 15 minutes north of Cape Cod, the Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. A private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution, the Museum is supported by admission fees, donations, memberships, and revenue from a variety of educational programming, dining and gift shops. Plimoth Patuxet is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. For more information, visit www.plimoth.org. Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and Mayflower on Facebook and Instagram.
CONTACT: Kate Sheehan
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508.746.1622, ext. 8206