At Sea With History - The New Indian Express

At Sea With History

Published: 20th July 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 19th July 2014 08:30 AM

Remember the Steven Speilberg movie Amistad, based on the 1839 uprising by captive tribesmen who took over the ship La Amistad off the Cuban coast? It was the real thing you saw—it is now kept at the Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea situated between Boston and New York, where it was painstakingly and lovingly restored by experts. The museum is a living record of American maritime history, and allows you to experience it first-hand by taking you aboard any of the four historically important ships docked there, including the more than a century old Sabino—a coal-fired steamboat that you can still ride or take short cruises on the Mystic River. Amble slowly through a re-created 19th-century coastal American village or watch how preservation shipyard does its work. Buildings from all over New England were taken down and brought to the Museum site to rebuild a 19th century fishing village. Thirty historic shops that have been brought from around New England and rebuilt line the dock on Mystic Seaport’s 19-acre riverfront home. Museum educators and roleplayers teach you about each building’s role in a coastal community, and exhibit some 19th-century trades. A real resoration shipyard was also built.

Through old film footage, art and music, discover how music of the sea has been used as a means of expression and identity through the sounds of the 19th- and early 20th-century America and live performances by museum musicians. You can even experiment with making your own music. If you wish, you can take classes on traditional boating and shipbuilding techniques.

Established in 1929, the Maritime Historical Association was greeted enthusiastically by sailors, who donated log books, blueprints and ship parts. The museum’s first important acquisition was the Charles W Morgan, a wooden tri-masted whaling vessel that was the only of its kind in the world, and currently the world’s oldest merchant ship. The Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea is easily the largest maritime collection in the world.

An equally important site to visit is the Treworgy Planetarium, which evidences how important stars were to any 19th-century mariner at sea. Take in shows on navigation and much more.

For school groups, The Ship to Shore overnight programme at Mystic Seaport allows exploration of Mystic Seaport’s 19th-century village by day and spending nights aboard the training vessel Joseph Conrad. Students learn about life at sea as they bunk with their shipmates aboard the Conrad. They are taught to sing sea songs with a chanteyman, interact with an 1876 roleplayer, create handmade keepsakes using traditional sailor’s tools, climb the Conrad’s rigging as each programme is tailored to the needs of the visiting school. Schools can choose from topics such as Life in a Seaport Town, Whaling, Cargoes, and Immigration, among others.

Mystic Museum’s food options include New American cuisine in one of the main dining rooms, casual fare in the Shipyard Tavern or just dining al fresco. Membership is open for the tavern’s Mystic Mug Club for fine beer and ale enthusiasts. The casual Galley Restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. A riverside lunch at Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern during the warm weather months and the Café & Bake Shop offer a wide selection of coffees, juices, pastries, soups and sandwiches to be enjoyed indoors or out. The fudge is special. Mystic Seaport is also a great location for weddings and special events.

Mystic Seaport, The Museum of America and the Sea 75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355, US,

Tel: (860) 572-0711

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