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In Memoriam: Hart Perry | Re-framing the Charles W. Morgan America and the Sea Award | A Lady at the Helm Spring / Summer 2011

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Mystic Seaport magazine is a publication of Mystic Seaport



SUMMER CAMPS and not one child



spring/summer 2011


with a





Seascapes . .....................................4 On the Cover: Mystic Seaport’s newest exhibit “Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor” opened on March 19, 2011.


In Memoriam ...................................6


Museum Briefs.......................... 7-9 Mystic Seaport in the News ................................. 10

Courtesy of Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia.

New Exhibit........................... 11-13

CONTACT US VISITOR INFORMATION: 860.572.5315 | 888.973.2767 ADMINiSTRATION: 860.572.0711

WHY LANDLOCK YOUR KIDS this summer when a whole new world awaits on the water?

From day camps to overnight camps and sailing programs aboard classic tall ships like the Joseph Conrad and Brilliant, Mystic Seaport offers all sorts of unforgettable ways for children of all ages to earn their sea legs. Learn more at

Tattoos.......................................... 14

MEMBERSHIP: 860.572.5339 PROGRAM RESERVATION: 860.572.5322

Restoring an Icon............... 15-17

MUSEUM STORE: 860.572.5385 MARITIME GALLERY: 860.572.5388 VOLUNTEER SERVICES: 860.572.5378



Kids' stuff ............................ 18-19 On Books....................................... 20 Advancement News.................... 21



From the Collections . ............ 22

Spring / Summer 2011

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S E As c a p es


omething has been gnawing at me lately. I am burdened by the realization that, while we are the stewards of a nationally significant collection, Mystic Seaport is also largely responsible for keeping our nation’s great maritime traditions alive and vibrant, and seeing to it that they are passed forward to our rising generations. The present economic realities make this obligation exceedingly challenging, but that inspires us all the more to remain steadfast in our resolve to maintain these traditions, such as large and small timber work, sail making, sea music, sail training, rigging, shipsmithing, coopering and storytelling. Mystic Seaport has been a key resource and location over the years for passing forward these skills, and we are proud of that role as we see our “alumni” actively involved across the nation in advancing these important traditions. Fortunately, we are joined in this work by our partner museums in the Council of American Maritime Museums, the programs within ASTA, the instructors at schools such as WoodenBoat and IYRS, and experiential programs such as Ocean Classroom Foundation. All help to ensure that our great maritime traditions are perpetuated. But in these times that we all confront, these skills are at risk; they are vulnerable and susceptible to Mystic Seaport President Stephen C. White. our responses to a weak economy. It’s why gatherings of like-minded enthusiasts at events such as the Sea Music Festival and the WoodenBoat Show are so important. They remind us all of how critical these skills are to our maritime heritage and how hard we must advocate for funding and opportunities to keep them strong. We know that it takes scores and scores of trained, dedicated practitioners, artisans, performers, researchers and scholars to ensure that these great traditions remain alive, and not solely remembered in scholarly papers, books or documentaries. Our skilled staff at Mystic Seaport are not merely adding life to history through their regular work at the Museum; they are, indeed, responsible for advancing the very skills that helped make history. The essential question for us these days is not so much where and how these skills will be passed on, but if we will be able to commit enough resources so that rising generations are suitably trained both to inherit the obligation and to then pass on the skill. With each reduction, nationwide, of programs and experiences, we weaken the knowledge base and thereby threaten the tradition itself of transferring knowledge from generation to generation. These skills that characterize our maritime heritage are as important to preserve and keep in the public eye as the objects themselves. As museums and practitioners, we must remember that our collective commitment to the American maritime experience depends largely on the qualified people who share it and teach it. To those of you who are members of Mystic Seaport and other tradition-based organizations, please know that through your membership dues and Annual Fund contributions you are helping to sustain these traditions that define and characterize our maritime heritage. See you on the grounds.

Special Events at Myst ic Seaport

MAY 28-30 — Lobster Days 30 — Decoration Day

JUNE 9-12 18 24-26 25-26

— — — —

Sea Music Festival River Jazz The WoodenBoat Show Small Craft Weekend

JULY 4 16-17 23-24 23 30 31 to Aug 1

— — — — — —

Independence Day Tattoos & Tall Ships Antique & Class Boat Rendezvous Rum Runners’ Rendezvous Dixieland Cruise aboard Sabino Moby-Dick Marathon

AUGUST 11-14 — Model Yacht Regatta 20 — Dixieland Cruise aboard Sabino 20-21 — Antique Marine Engine Show

SEPTEMBER 3-5 — 18 — 23 — 25 — 25 to Nov 13 —

First Responders Weekend Coastweeks Regatta Mystic Seaport Annual Meeting and Recognition Day Antique Vehicle Show International Marine Art Exhibition

Save the Date!

Mystic Seaport Annual Meeting and Recognition Day

Friday, September 23, 2011

Annual Members’ Meeting 3 -4:30 p.m. River Room State of the Museum Reports Board of Trustees Elections Milestone Member Recognition

Special Member Activities 4:30-5:30 p.m.



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Spring / Summer 2011

come in waves.


Memorial Tribute

Tours & Program

Stephen C. White

The most unforgettable family moments

For More Information, please visit or call 860.572.5322.

MAKE A SPLASH this summer by getting out on the water at Mystic Seaport. Sightsee from the deck of our 1908 steamboat Sabino. Cruise the Mystic River aboard a historic catboat. Or simply rent a rowboat or sailboat and have a blast. The only boating experience we don’t offer? Swabbing the deck. To find out how you can earn your sea legs on our waters, visit



A Major Mover in the Rowing World By Paul O'Pecko By Paul O'Pecko


is title at Mystic Seaport was Mystic, including the annual Coast“Adjunct Curator of Rowweeks Regatta and the Battle Between ing.” It is not a title that the Bridges that brought amateur and jumps off the page and makes you Olympic-level rowers to the Mystic stand at attention. Very unlike the perRiver. Hart and Gill worked diligently son. Hart Perry was that person and to pull off the first-ever Rowing Hall he was akin to “the little engine that of Fame induction ceremony that could,” except that he skipped the “I brought over 250 people to the Musethink I can” phase and went straight um in March of 2010. Hart and Gill also to the “I know I can” stage. Hart was recruited a volunteer group, “Ready a unique individual who had a knack All Row”. The initial mission was to for getting people to listen to him and recondition, using a lot of paint and convincing them that they wanted to sweat equity, a suite of rooms in the do what he needed them to do. G.W. Blunt White Building at Mystic As the very successful head of the Seaport and transform them into the National Rowing Foundation, Hart Rowing Hall of Fame. The work that spearheaded an effort for years that Hart and Gill accomplished with the raised millions of dollars to send our volunteer group is just as evident in the national rowing teams to championsection of the Rossie Mill that houses ships and the Olympics all over the an extensive collection of shells and world. His virtues as a coach have equipment. Hart and his volunteers been extolled in speeches, print and, have turned the “Hall” and the Mill I am told, even song. Among his many into a pilgrimage destination for curk awards, in 2009, he and his wife, Gill, rent and former rowers on all levels, were honored with the USRowing from around the country. August 2 3, 1933 – Medal, and, two weeks before he My favorite memory of Hart, passed away, he received the InterF ebruary 3, 2011 though, has to do with his championnational Rowing Federation’s (FISA) ing youth rowing. Mystic Seaport and World Rowing Distinguished Service to Rowing Award. In his role as Adjunct Curator, he helped to the Mystic River are home to a local high school rowing team, and preserve some of the most important information, artifacts and at a ceremony in summer 2010, Hart was recognized by the group publications of rowing history by convincing Mystic Seaport to in a very meaningful way. A brand new eight was christened the create a Rowing Hall of Fame and then cajoling and convincing Hart Perry. The smile on his face that this honor produced is one the keepers of that information, those artifacts and publications, I will not soon forget. Hart’s legacy will live on, not only in giving to donate them to the Hall of Fame. In this way, he managed to his name to this boat and numerous others, but in many programs reinforce the memories of those who visit and participate in the small and large. He was a man who touched countless people and sport, while encouraging novices in the sport to engage in the long, I am glad to be included among them. rich history of one of the few sports that has its roots in the everyday Paul O'Pecko is Vice President of Collections and Research at work of the everyday man.

William Hartwell “Hart” Perry Jr.

Along with Gill, Hart was a major mover of other local events in


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Mystic Seaport.

2010 International Council Maritime Travel Tour Twenty of Mystic Seaport’s trustees, staff and members spent 11 days in October of last year on a trip that gave them a privileged insight into 500 years of European maritime lore through visits to museums in St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Portsmouth. Each visit was accompanied by a series of tours and cultural events as well as meetings with senior leaders at museums that allowed Mystic Seaport President Stephen White to establish relationships and begin to discuss future joint collaborations and alliances. The adventure began with a short stop in Helsinki, Finland, before the group boarded the Sibelius Express train for a scenic journey through Karelia to St. Petersburg. Four days were spent visiting some of Russia’s foremost cultural institutions: the old Central Naval Museum, Kronstadt Fortress, the Hermitage Museum, the Amber Room and the Tsar’s Village, to mention a few. The group also enjoyed tea aboard the cruiser Aurora (1902), and a visit at the soon-to-be-opened new Central Naval Museum. It was an extraordinary visit in St. Petersburg. From Russia, the group flew to the elegant Swedish capital, Stockholm. The first night, at Den Gyldene Freden [The Golden Peace], a historic restaurant founded in 1722, a banquet was held in the room where the Swedish Academy meets to decide the Nobel Prize for Literature. The next day included a tour of the Vasa Museum, home of the 1628 warship Vasa. The tour was led by Vasa Research Director, Fred Hocker, who is a former staff member of Mystic Seaport and Williams-Mystic alumnus. Time was also spent with other Mystic Seaport friends, who invited the group to Djurgårdsvarvet, a shipyard under restoration, which is inspired by the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. At the last stop on the trip, in England, the group enjoyed a private tour of the reserve collection of King Henry VIII’s favorite warship Mary Rose, launched in 1511. While at Portsmouth’s Naval Dockyard, the group also toured Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory (1765) and the 1860s iron-clad HMS Warrior. The closing dinner was a Tudor Banquet in the Mary Rose Museum.

Mystic Seaport travelers outside the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Stephen White said of the trip, “For me, the combination of learning about the Baltic’s maritime heritage and building lasting and productive relationships with the leadership of the region’s premier maritime museums created a lasting and profound professional development experience.” Richard Vietor, Chairman of the Board, summed up his views, “I was impressed by the high regard that our peers in the Baltic countries have for all of us at Mystic Seaport. It is clear that there are many opportunities for us to work together, to learn from each other, and to just enjoy our mutual love for history and the sea.” Mystic Seaport is pleased to have five honorary international members of the International Council: Director of the Central Naval Museum Andrey Lyalin, and Nikolay and Tanya Yermolayev in St. Petersburg; and Director Marika Hedin and Research Director Fred Hocker of the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. George White, Chairman of Mystic Seaport International Council

The 1628 warship Vasa in Stockholm.

Spring / Summer 2011

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NMHS Award to Museum Staff On October 13, 2010, at the New York Yacht Club, the National Maritime Historical Society, NMHS, held its annual award dinner. Recipients of NMHS’s Distinguished Service Award were Dana Hewson, Mystic Seaport Vice President for Watercraft Preservation and Programs; Quentin Snediker, Director of Mystic Seaport’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard; and the Shipyard’s staff and volunteers. “This award,” Dana Hewson said, “recognizing the incredible effort the talented staff and volunteers of the Museum are putting forth for the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, is a wonderful testament to the importance of our work. As important as the restoration of the Morgan is, though, the award further recognized the Museum for its ongoing leadership-by-example role in the preservation of the tangible aspects of our rich maritime heritage through research, skills preservation, restoration, and new construction.” He continued, “I am fortunate and thankful to be involved in this aspect of the Museum’s work.”

From left, Dana Hewson, StePHen White and Quentin Snediker.

The original seafarer status updater... now on the iPhone.

KARA LALLY and Stephen Sisk

Forty Years and Counting Mystic Seaport “garden guru,” Stephen Sisk, recently celebrated 40 years as a Museum employee. Acknowledged for his many years of diligent work and dedication to keep the Museum pristine, Stephen was presented with a framed print from the “Rosenfeld Collection” from the hands of Mystic Seaport President Stephen White. Mystic Seaport has undergone many changes over the last 40 years, but Stephen, as the assistant horticulturist, considers the change in the museum’s “garden philosophy” during the 1980s particularly notable. The flashy flowers that had dominated the gardens of the Burrows House and BuckinghamHall House were replaced with historically accurate plantings. He feels these gardens complement the village’s historic aura and provide a unique opportunity for museum visitors to view typical nineteenth-century gardens. Stephen and Kara Lally, garden supervisor, began planning this year’s gardens upon the arrival of the first seed catalogs in January. “We have a spot in mind for every plant or seed variety we order,” Stephen says. Mystic Seaport’s gardens in full bloom are images Stephen will undoubtedly capture with his camera. Pairing his horticulture expertise with his passion for photography seems a picture-perfect combination. ­Trudi Busey

Helping more and more people earn their sea legs What does it mean to earn your sea legs? Out on the ocean, it means you’ve gained the ability to walk steadily on the deck of a ship, unhindered by the motion of the rolling waves. But at Mystic Seaport, it means you’ve lost your landlubber status and dived into all the ways we let you explore America’s colorful seafaring past, from taking a horse and carriage ride through our 19th-century village to clambering across the gangplanks of our vessels. This past summer, working with Adams & Knight, Inc., the Museum rolled out our Earn Your Sea Legs marketing campaign, designed to showcase the wide variety of attractions and activities available to visitors. Through television commercials, online banner advertising, downloadable coupons and even social media like Facebook and Twitter, we challenged families to do something different, discover our unique experiences and earn their sea legs together.


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Spring / Summer 2011

, come earn your ,


Our three television commercials were among the campaign’s highest profile components. Each commercial showed different children enjoying Mystic Seaport activities, including our Shipsmith Shop, a Sabino cruise and hoisting a sail aboard the Joseph Conrad. An “old salt” narrator spoke to their parents, congratulating them on earning their sea legs by taking them away from video games and TV shows. So far, the Earn Your Sea Legs campaign has produced impressive results. Over 30,000 people have visited the online hub of the campaign ( to plan their trip and download coupons — more than 6,000 have already been redeemed. And since the campaign launched, we’ve more than doubled the number of people who “like” us on Facebook, with almost 3,000 new likes. But those are just our results to date. Earn Your Sea Legs is still going strong, so keep an eye out for new additions to our campaign in 2011!

Captain Ted Morgan-Busher and his beautiful Amazon.

Farewell, Amazon! At the end of May, a well-known sight will disappear from the Mystic Seaport waterfront. After her more than 18-month stay, the 102-foot-long (114-foot over spar) wooden screw schooner Amazon, with Captain Ted Morgan-Busher at the helm, will bid the Museum farewell, and likely be homebound for Valletta in Malta. Amazon is a unique yacht. She was built in 1885 in Southampton for the Victorian gentleman Tankerville Chamberlayne, who had his own private yacht yard. The designer was the prominent Dixon Kemp, and she is the last surviving vessel, in sea-going condition, from Kemp’s drawing board. Luckily, she was already considered too old and old-fashioned for war service during the First World War, when about two-thirds of British steam yachts in Naval service were lost. By the Second World War she was truly a relic. On November 9, 2009, proudly flying the British Red Ensign, Amazon docked at Mystic Seaport. The crew, Ted and his 12-year-old son, George, were planning to stay for a week before heading south to warmer latitudes. But fate intervened. Ever since Ted and his wife, Melody, bought Amazon in Scotland, on December 31, 1996, they planned to go for a long cruise. Amazon left her Mediterranean homeport on February 5, 2009, for Gibraltar and the Canary Islands. The 124-year-old vessel then motor-sailed via the Cape Verde islands and crossed the Atlantic with ease. She visited several Caribbean harbors before she arrived in Mystic. Ted says that Amazon had “a tremendously positive and friendly reception” at Mystic Seaport, so he and George never left for the south. They fell in love with the Museum, and the love was reciprocated; they made many friends among the Museum staff and volunteers. As a matter of fact, both Ted and George, who also attended one of the local schools, signed up as volunteers. In July 2010 with hundreds of volunteer hours, George was the recipient of the Junior Volunteer Award. In September 2010, George signed off as deck-hand on Amazon to return home to his school in Malta. It had been Ted’s plan to leave after the WoodenBoat Show at the end of June 2010, but Amazon’s mainmast was struck by lightning on June 5, which made it impossible to sail. But now, after the construction work on the bascule drawbridge in downtown Mystic is completed in April, Captain Ted will start the diesel engine and get ready to set sail for home. Ted and his beautiful old boat will be sadly missed by their friends at the Museum. They hope that perhaps sometime in the future, she will grace the Mystic Seaport waterfront again. Au revoir, Amazon!

Since the 1850s, sailors around the world have let other vessels know “what’s up” by hoisting maritime signal flags that quickly send messages ranging from “man overboard” to “dangerous goods.” Now, however, you don’t need to tug on a frayed rope or shimmy up a mast to let your friends know what’s going on seafarer-style. As they say, there’s an app for that —specifically, the new Mystic Seaport Flagster app for the iPhone. Flagster, developed by Adams & Knight, Inc., allows you to raise virtual signal flags on your Facebook wall, keeping your friends up-to-date on everything you’re up to, with a distinctly nautical twist. Flagster launches by offering you the option to “Send a Signal” or “Learn About Flags” by browsing through all 26 maritime signal flags and descriptions of each. When you’re up-to-speed and ready to send a signal, you can choose from traditional maritime signal flags, fun flags and Mystic Seaport-themed flags. Traditional signal flags let you choose from the 26 standard flags — with the option to provide your own unique level of meaning before posting to your Facebook wall. For example, if you choose the “Dragging My Anchor” flag, you might add a caption that lets your Facebook friends know you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee yet. Fun flags offer “nontraditional” maritime signal flags, from “Cravin’ Chocolate” to “A Case of the Mondays.” Just as with the traditional signal flags, you can add your own message before the flag appears on your Facebook wall. Several Mystic Seaport-themed flags are also available to post to let your friends know when you’re enjoying one of our unique on-site activities, exploring the Joseph Conrad or dining at Latitude 41°. We hope you enjoy our free Flagster app — it’s available to download at!

Spring / Summer 2011

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The Skinny on

Scanning the Morgan Are shipbuilders and shipyards a thing of the past? Not quite, writes William J. Broad of The New York Times—the Charles W. Morgan is still here. In the paper’s science section on August 17, 2010, Broad reported on new techniques being used to help restore the Morgan to sea-going condition. The article covers two technologies in which lasers and portable X-ray machines are used to record and access the vessel’s condition to reveal minute and hidden details. The information is then fed into computers. For documentation purposes “the scans have produced ‘millions of points of information’ and a wealth of three-dimensional images,” Kane Borden, Mystic Seaport research coordinator, told the paper. The x-ray images allow the Shipyard staff a “non-invasive” way to examine the condtion of the vessel’s keel bolts.

Parlez-vous français? On December 3, 2010, the French daily sport paper L’Equipe’s quarterly supplement Sport & Style had a six-page article about Philadelphian Jack Kelly, Sr., as a rower and sportsman. The article, “Un Roman Américain” [An American Story], was written by Paul Miquel and based on Daniel J. Boyne’s book Kelly: A Father, A Son, An American Quest, which was published by Mystic Seaport in 2008. Sport & Style reprinted some of the beautiful photographs of Kelly and his family, among them showing his most famous children, his sculling son, Jack, Jr. (“Kell”), and daughter, Grace. As we all know, she would become a celebrated movie star and later the Princess of Monaco. In the article, Miquel draws parallels between the Kelly family and another immigrant family from Ireland, the Kennedys, calling the Kellys “des ‘Kennedy du sport US.’” Daniel Boyne is also briefly interviewed in the article. The paper has 500,000 readers a day.

“T Skin&Bones ” By Elysa Engelman

attoos seem to be everywhere in America. Strolling through any beach, airport or mall, you’ll see permanent ink emblazoned on the backs, arms, ankles and shoulders of men and women of all ages. In fact, a 2007 Pew Research Center study found that 1 out of 3 Americans aged 16 to 25 has a tattoo, while a whopping 40 percent of respondents age 26 to 40 claimed to have one. Tattoos today run the gamut from abstract tribal symbols to cutesy cartoon characters. But few recall that Americans’ passion for tattoos is a salty one, stretching back to the experiences of 18th-century seafarers. These maritime origins are explored in “Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor,” a critically acclaimed exhibit now on view in the Mallory Exhibit Hall. Developed and traveled by Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, the exhibit includes the full range of traditional maritime artifacts, including scrimshaw, a figurehead, a ship model, fancy knotwork, prints, photographs, naval uniforms and memorabilia. But it uses them to place maritime tat-

Cleaning your attic For Mystic Seaport’s first Appraisal Day on January 14, Yachting Magazine suggested in their online edition at the beginning of January, that it was time to clean out the attic, dust off the old chart books and maritime paintings, and head to Mystic Seaport. At Latitude 41° Restaurant, staff from the New York division of Bonhams, the world-renowned auction house, stood ready to appraise the nautical treasures. At the end of the day, Bonhams’ staff reported that several of the objects they examined had been valued at over $100,000, especially in maritime art. Two words sum up the day: great success!

Left: Patriotic symbols are perennial favorites with sailors. Lady Liberty with flag captures the classic combination of a sailor's love of country and women. Right: “Captain Elvy” and his full body suit of tattoos. Elvy‘s back features a clipper ship, roses, flying fish, eagle, American flags, and a banner reading “United We Stand.” ca. 1940. Courtesy Tattoo Archive, Winston-Salem, NC.

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Even simple tattoo designs often have layers of symbolism. A sailor got a swallow design to show he had voyaged more than 5,000 miles. An anchor design distinguished professional mariners from convicts and carnival workers, who had their own tattooing subculture.

“Not one great country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves.” – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871.

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toos in their proper artistic and historic context, tracing their symbolism and stylistic changes over time. Exhibit curator Craig Bruns spent many years researching this show, tracking down traditional and modern tattooing tools, finding flash (tattoo design samples unique to each artist) and interviewing tattoo artists and collectors. The result is an engrossing (but not gross) exploration of the cultural and personal power of tattoos. The maritime tattoos in “Skin & Bones” range from colorful to classical, whimsical to fierce. Each is a public display of intensely personal experiences and emotions. Machismo badges of courage, bravery and brotherhood, tattoos also can express heartbreak, loss, loneliness, and love. You may not leave the exhibit wanting your own maritime tattoos, but you will have a better appreciation for their influence on our society. Tattooing is an ancient tradition, practiced throughout the world. Charles Darwin noted in 1871 that “Not one great country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves.” But most U.S. tattoo traditions owe more to British seafarers of the late 1700s, who were influenced by Celtic, Pict and Pacific Islander symbols, than to Native American practitioners. Seamen’s protection certificates and other government records document how quickly the American sailor embraced tattoos. The exhibit profiles several, including Aaron Fullerton. In 1797 this 19-year-old Pennsylvania native had two gunpowder-ink tattoos — a ship on his right hand and his initials and birth year on his left. Tattooing was practiced by African-American sailors too, such as Oliver Boston, a Nantucket-born Civil War steward, who had a crucifix and a whale tattooed on his left forearm. Tattooing remained a shipboard practice for generations. Sailors honed their skills on each other during off-watch hours, using the same tools and steady hands that mended sails and pricked out scrimshaw patterns on whale teeth. By the 1870s some of the most skilled tattooing sailors had settled onshore, opening parlors in sailor towns and earning their bread-and-butter from mariners on shore leave. Samuel O’Reilly transformed the business in 1891 when he patented his electric tattoo machine, inspired by an invention of Thomas Edison, an electric writing machine. As one tattoo historian noted, “O’Reilly used to declare solemnly that an American sailor without a tattoo was like a ship without grog — not seaworthy.” A tattoo became an initiation mark and a badge of brotherhood. Above all, it was a perennial sign of maritime masculinity, found on sailors of all ages and stages, from old salts with chests and backs emblazoned with battle scenes to baby-faced recruits with freshly inked anchors itching on their arms. The imagery that sailors’ chose for their tattoos spoke volumes about their personal experiences and shared values. An American eagle or flag expressed patriotism while a ship portrait commemorated an important tour of duty. Somber tattoos of names and dates served as permanent reminders of shipmates who died at sea. These traditions are documented in the exhibit through photographs, eyewitness descriptions and rare books of tattoo artists’ flash, their personal sample books. One of the oldest surviving books of American flash, bearing the name C.H. Fellowes, belongs to Mystic Seaport and is on display in the exhibit. It features tattoo designs of the USS Maine, popular among patriotic Navy sailors in the years after the battleship exploded in Havana harbor and the U.S. declared war on Spain in 1898. Profiles of influential 20th-century tattoo artists along with examples of their flash reveal the stylistic range of maritime tattoos. From the detailed sea serpents of C.W. Eldredge to the colorful designs of husband-and-wife team Sailor Eddie and Esther and the saucy twin propellers that Madame Chinchilla

Tattoo: from the Polynesian word “tatau,” recalling the tapping movement of a needle repeatedly puncturing the skin. The British first encountered it while exploring the South Pacific in the 1770s under Capt. Cook, and saw a resemblance to their own “tattoo” practice of using a drum to issue military commands. placed on sailor’s buttocks in the 1970s and 1980s, each artist had their own style and specialty. Tattooists at work in port towns from Honolulu to Newport News developed loyal followers who returned again and again for another tattoo and informal therapy session. Several of the artists featured in the exhibit fully recognized the emotional and psychological significance of their work. Philadelphia Eddie saw a stream of wounded Vietnam War vets in his shop near the Navy yard, including amputees seeking Illustration by U.S. Navy Lieutenant tattoos on their leg stumps. And Madame Commander McClelland Barclay, part Chinchilla recalled, “I was the link, the of the Navy's World War II "Loose Lips Sink Ships" campaign, to remind those midwife and patient and curious ear to with "war jobs" not to discuss the the veteran sailors and their experiences nature of their work. concerning their tattoos. I was an ignorant The tattooed hand represents a sailor woman who knew nothing of the life they hushing a talkative worker. Barclay had in wars. I held many of them as they worked for the Navy on war posters, camouflage design, and as a battlewept in memory of those days.” field correspondent, and was killed Perhaps the most heart-wrenching in action in WWII. piece in the exhibit is by artist and forCourtesy Navy Art Collection/Naval Historical Center. mer Marine Horace Clifford Westermann. Painted in 1978, it relives his World War II experience following a bloody battle in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise when he identified a close friend’s dead body based on the man’s chest tattoo. Visitors to the exhibit will encounter many moving stories about the meanings behind tattoos. Video interviews with U.S. Coast Guardsmen about their tattoos and their meanings show that this maritime tradition is alive and well. Lenders to the exhibit include the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, and the Dietrich American Foundation. Photographs are drawn from the New London Sub-Base Gazette and the National Archives and Records Administration. Personal photos, tools, and flash have been borrowed from tattoo artists and experts around the nation. New London’s own tattooing heritage is included in the exhibit as well, through a video display of recent designs by some of today’s hottest local artists. Check the Mystic Seaport website later this spring for updates on public programs involving some of these artists discussing their tattoo training, influences and work. Dr. Elysa Engelman is the Museum’s exhibit researcher/developer. She does not have any tattoos — yet.

This traveling exhibit features several pieces from the permanent collection of Mystic Seaport, including scrimshaw tattoo needles, an electric tattooing machine and the very important C.H. Fellowes tattoo book. One of the oldest surviving American tattoo design books, it dates to around 1900. To see images from the Fellowes book and other collection images: — click on Image Archive and then click on Tattoos.

Above: L.M. Brown, a sailor, tattooed by Owen Jenson, ca. 1943. Courtesy of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

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“Oh, devilish tantalization of the gods!”

Q ueequeg’s tattoos W

By Mary K. Bercaw Edwards

hen Ishmael first glimpses Queequeg in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851), he exclaims: “[G]ood heavens! What a sight! Such a face! It was of a dark, purplish, yellow color, here and there stuck over with large, blackish looking squares” (chapter 3). He believes Queequeg to have been in a terrible fight, until he realizes the blackish squares are tattoos. Queequeg is a native of the South Pacific, not a pugilist. Tattoos were quite distinctive within each island group. In 1842, Melville spent a month ashore on Nuku Hiva after deserting the whaleship Acushnet. In consequence, Queequeg’s tattoos appear Marquesan. Ishmael, like other 19th-century Americans, associated tattooing with cannibalism. He is appalled by and yet drawn to Queequeg, ultimately proclaiming, “Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian” (chapter 3). Throughout MobyDick, Ishmael ponders the ever-shifting line between savagery and civilization. Like many sailors, he too becomes tattooed; in fact, sailors first brought tattooing to the United States. Ishmael’s tattoo, however, is unusual, for it is the dimensions of a whale’s skeleton. Queequeg’s tattoos resonate further. A prophet had inked on Queequeg’s body a treatise on attaining truth, but had died before explaining the twisted markings, and no one—not Queequeg, Ishmael, nor Ahab—can read them. Ahab cries out in frustration, “Oh, devilish tantalization of the gods!” (chapter 110). This indecipherable text survives Queequeg’s death when the coffin-buoy on which he had copied it rises to the surface and saves Ishmael at the end of the book.

This plate from Georg H. von Langsdorff’s Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World (1813) shows a young Marquesan not completely tattooed. Langsdorff’s work is an important source for Herman Melville’s first book Typee (1846). Melville’s description of Queequeg’s tattoos strongly resembles the distinct tattoos of Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, where Melville spent a month ashore in 1842.

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A Herman Melville scholar, Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards teaches in the Maritime Studies Program at the University of Connecticut and is the Foreman of the Mystic Seaport demonstration squad.

Re-framing the

Starboard side of Morgan's hold, viewed from forward, showing frame futtocks.

Charles W. Morgan T

By Walt Ansel

he last time I made and fitted new frame timbers into the Charles W. Morgan was 28 years ago when we re-topped the ship from the waterline up. Today we are continuing the job from the waterline down, restoring the ship’s bottom. Naturally, I think about the improvements that have occurred at the Museum’s Shipyard since the early 1980s. Thanks to excellent jointer work, the exact fitting of timbers is pursued as relentlessly as ever. We have superior tools resulting in increased efficiency, greatly improved safety awareness and much reduced heavy hand lifting. The wood that we buy or that is donated to the Shipyard is some of the finest I have seen in a 30-year career. Sadly, the fellows who trained us, the shipwrights and boat builders who worked in the trade when wooden boats were built commercially, are gone. John Gardner has written about the honing of that generation’s skills: “Young and old were caught up in the war effort, which had brought together an assemblage of boat building talent and experience that will not be seen again. The clock stood still while an era of wooden boat construction, which had all but passed away, was revived and renewed.” Today, according to Quentin Snediker, director of the Henry B. duPont Preservation Spring / Summer 2011

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Boston Navy Yard's frame futtocks. Note the ID number and axe marks.

Among the shipwrights and apprentices you will find diverse interests and hobbies such as colonial soldier reenacting, drawing, writing poetry/novels, ice fishing, vintage rifle

Shipyard, “We’ve become the old-timers.” Now we have the Shipyard’s future working alongside us: four young, very bright and dedicated apprentices, three men and one woman in their mid-twenties, who are soaking up the trade as hard as they can. Our mission as shipwrights practicing a historic trade on a historic vessel is to preserve the Morgan’s design shape and construction plan. In our commitment to authenticity, we use original woods, fasteners and finishes. Restoring a wooden vessel of the Morgan’s size is a massive undertaking. In contrast to the much larger crew that built the Morgan in 1841, our team of 13 relies on laborsaving modern power tools. There is no question that the highly efficient chain saws and power planers that we use are huge time-savers compared to cross cut saws, axes and adzes. They cut quickly and accurately and do not exhaust the operator. These tools get us within 1/16 inch of finished size. We then hand plane exposed surfaces to achieve the 19th-century look. The primary goal of the 2009­–12 restoration is different from the 1980s effort in the realization that the Morgan will be sailed. Our goal today raises the bar of structural integrity. This time, while rebuilding the ship’s framework, we are ever conscious of the sailing strains that the hull will be exposed to when she goes to sea. Every timber must be interconnected by well-placed fasteners. The frame butt joints must be spread farther apart so that all connected parts are overlapped to form a unified hull. When we are done, the Morgan should be as sturdy and tight as the barrels she once carried in her hold. My apprentice Sean Kelly and I replaced Morgan

RE S T O RING A N I C O N frames together last summer and despite language problems (he’s from Minnesota), got quite efficient at the job. There are five distinct steps in making a whale ship frame: 1) remove the original timber; 2) construct a pattern; 3) choose a new timber, saw it to shape; 4) fit it into the ship; 5) fasten it. Sean and I were working the starboard side section from amidships aft. The available wood for the job was from two sources: large-diameter live oak logs that had been blown down in Hurricane Katrina and longlost U.S. Navy timbers from the Boston Navy Yard. We found that removing several frame pairs at once gave us more working room. A sawzall was slipped between the frame and planking and used to cut all the fasteners, trunnels (wooden nails) and spikes. Most of the frame pieces came out intact to be documented and saved. The inner plank surfaces had to be scraped and adzed smooth, as they often had assumed a washboard appearance from years of erosion. At this point we could make our patterns. Accurate frame making and joinery is dependent on careful pattern-making. We used one-inch pine boards with glued-on fingers to represent the hull’s curve. If you picture the frame as a curved box, the pattern would represent one side, the orientation being across the ship. Most of the amidships frames were cut square. The ship’s ends, however, are much more complex. Here we encounter bevels, angles cut in the frames to create the taper of a ship’s form. Bevels are taken with a hinged square called a bevel gauge that is placed between the pattern and the inside face of the hull planking. The bevels are recorded on a storyboard and do change, to add to

shooting, sailing, cruising, gardening, woodcarving, contra dancing and vintage motorcycle collecting and riding. This makes for various and unpredictable coffee break conversations.

Shipwright Trevor Allen saws a Morgan frame on the ship's saw, assisted by apprentices Rob Welch and Sean Kelly.

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Shipswrights Chris Taylor and Jeff Gold remove ceiling planking.

the complexity of a ship’s frame shape. OK—curves and bevels, this is where we radically depart from house carpentry—seldom are things square in a ship! The frame timbers were roughly chain-sawn to curves and piled throughout the Shipyard. After finding pieces that fit our patterns best, we moved them (most weighing 500 pounds each) by forklift to a layout area. We then traced the shape from the pattern and located bevel stations. Enter the ship’s saw: this huge and ancient band saw is the only machine that can cut curves and bevels on 500-pound live oak timbers in our Shipyard. It can also cut changing bevels as the blade wheels can be tilted relative to the table. The cutting-out process takes usually two or three shipwrights, depending on the length and weight of the timber. If the frame is beveled, one person operates the bevel change mechanism. The others push the heavy timber through by hand, trying to saw at a controlled speed and follow the curved layout lines. The Morgan’s nine- to ten-inch-thick frames were sometimes up to ten feet long. We cut outside the layout line and then hand power planed down to our pattern shape. Jack planes with radiussharpened blades were then used to remove the power plane marks. Personally, I found that doing this heavy work during the summer heat was a great

way to lose weight! The new frame futtock would then be forklifted to the ship and hoisted through a timber port that had been cut through the bow planking for access. We would then cut off and bevel the ends of the frame to the proper length. Because a great effort was made to get the frames to fit as tightly as possible, sometimes a 20-pound sledgehammer was needed to thump it into place. The live oak is so hard that this seemed strangely akin to smacking granite block. The fitted frame was then side trunneled to its neighbor frame and temporarily held to the hull planking with galvanized lag screws that are to be removed later during plank replacement. It would take about a week to demo, measure for, cut out and fit three frame futtocks. Today, at work on the Charles W. Morgan, we are a total of 13 shipwrights and apprentices, and our average age is 44. We share a love for maritime history, hand tools, wood and books. From the description of the framing job it will not surprise you that we are able wood workers, part-time equipment operators, mechanics, riggers, boat drivers, tool sharpeners and interpreters. The shipwright profession of today at Mystic Seaport is done with pride, integrity, care and respect as it has always been done. For love of the trade and ships, not money!

Walt Ansel is a senior shipwright at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport.

Spring / Summer 2011

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Charles W. Morgan • Sabino • Mystic River Scale Model Lighthouse • Tale of a Whaler • Children’s Museum Planetarium Shows • Playscapes • “Tugs!” • Water Shuttle Discovery Barn • Games on the Village Green • Horse and Carriage Rides Build Toy Boats • … and much more! Check the Map and Guide for locations and times. Illustration by Richard King

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Spring / Summer 2011

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THE Long Ships

A l so R e co m m e n d e d

by Frans G. Bengtsson; introduction by Michael Chabon (New York Review Books, 2010, 503 pp.)

Men of Kent by Rick Rinehart


n this newly reprinted historical novel of a time when the Norse men ruled the sea, you will find all the entertainment you need for hours to come. For readers in Sweden in a pre-Stieg Larsson era, the must-read book for older youths and adults alike was Frans G. Bengtsson’s novel about the Viking Röde Orm (Red Orm; red due to his hair color). Bengtsson was a true man of letters: from his pen came sonnets, essays, translations, book reviews, letters, a biography about the warrior-king Charles XII of Sweden and the two-volume novel about Röde Orm (1941 and 1945). It immediately met with acclaimed success, and after the war it was translated into several languages ­– in 1954, as The Long Ships in an excellent English translation by Michael Meyer. The language of The Long Ships is based on the Icelandic sagas, which were developed as oral history and later written down to entertain and amuse people about past kings and commoners. Following that tradition, Bengtsson has not missed any opportunity to tell his story with humorous understatements and wonderful wit. The tale covers approximately the years 980 to 1010 and begins with the young Orm being captured by some Vikings who raid his father’s farm in Scania, a province then belonging to Denmark. Together Orm and the Vikings set out on a seafaring adventure which will take them to Andalusia and beyond. Attacked by an Andalusian fleet, Orm and his new friends are captured and enslaved on one of Caliph Al-Mansur’s galleys. After more than two years as a slave, Orm became left-handed due to being seated on the port side on the rowing bench, and his red beard grew only to a certain length, then the sweep of his oar would curtail its length. “Of all the methods of trimming one’s beard,” Bengtsson writes, “that was the last that [Orm] would choose.” Later on, Orm and the Vikings are set free only to join Al-Mansur’s bodyguard. After several campaigns in the service of the Caliph, Orm and his men set sail to the Nordic latitudes, where they are invited to celebrate Yule at the court of Harald Bluetooth of Denmark. Truly, there is no funnier story in the twentiethcentury Swedish literature than the account of King Harald’s feast. Orm’s saga continues when he and his best friend Toke, a fearful fighter who is always ready to declaim a good verse for a vessel of ale, go east to capture the gold treasure of a Bulgarian king. Fights and battles are also to be found on land closer to home. This 2010 edition of The Long Ships features a new introduction by Michael Chabon in which he writes that Bengtsson’s novel “stands ready, given the chance, to bring lasting pleasure to every single human being on the face of the earth.” But while Chabon’s introduction is superb, I cannot help mentioning that this edition has a ghastly cover: the “wings” on the Viking helmets are a terrible historical inaccuracy, as is the painted horse or unicorn head in the bow of the Viking ship. Göran R Buckhorn, a native of Sweden, is the new editor of Mystic Seaport Magazine. He is a proud founding member of the Frans G. Bengtsson Society in Sweden. In 1995, he was present at a meeting and dinner party where Michael Meyer, the translator of The Long Ships, was the guest of honor. It was the funniest and most enjoyable dinner party Göran has ever attended.

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In 1972, by surprising fate, Rick Rinehart, nine of his rowing buddies and their Coach Hart Perry, from Kent School, Connecticut, found themDiantha Morse, on the right, with fellow Pilots in October 2010.

selves at Henley Royal Regatta in

A Legacy of Giving

England. In the regatta, where the finals are reserved only for the best of the best, the young men of Kent managed to fight their way to the final in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup for schoolboys. There they prevailed and their victory still stands out in rowing history on both sides of the pond. Rinehart beautifully retells the Kent eight’s glory in his well-written

Men of Kent.

A Full Cup by Michael D’Antonio Michael D’Antonio’s A Full Cup is a fascinating biography of Sir Thomas Lipton, who was born in 1848 into poverty in the slums of Glasgow. Uneducated, Lipton was truly a self-made man who, despite becoming one of the world’s wealthiest and most charismatic characters, and a friend of kings and celebrities, never


where he came from. Nowadays mostly remembered for turning what had been an upper-class drink, tea, into a beverage for the working class, he spent the modern equivalent of $100 million on four attempts to win The America’s Cup­­­his yacht lost all the races. Lipton’s demeanor in defeat made him even more loved by the masses. This is a wonderful book about an extraordinary man. To order these or other books, please call 860.572-5386 or shop online at Don’t forget your

Clockwise from left: 2010 America and the Sea Award recipient, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle; Award festivities in New York City sponsored in part by Rémy Cointreau and Tiffany and Co.; Dr. Sylvia A. Earle with Trustee Professor W. Frank Bohlen, Mystic Seaport Chairman Richard Vietor and President Stephen C. White; Commemorative bottle of wine presented at the live auction.

Fifth Annual America and the Sea Award Gala For Mystic Seaport’s America and the Sea Award Gala on November 3, 2010, more than 200 people turned up at the St. Regis Hotel to celebrate Dr. Sylvia A. Earle and her many accomplishments. The evening featured special bottles of Mount Gay Rum provided by Remy Cointreau, and a silver award created by Tiffany and Co. The America and the Sea Award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character. Over the past five years, the Museum has set a high standard for this award. Prior recipients were Olin Stephens II, David McCullough, Thomas J. Crowley, Jr. and William Koch. These honorees share a common trait—they are all pioneers who created impactful and lasting change within their various fields. Dr. Sylvia Earle is just such a trailblazer, and Mystic Seaport is honored to present her with the fifth America and the Sea Award. As the author of over 130 publications, Dr. Earle has contributed an enormous and distinguished body of work to the field of maritime studies. Her psychical accomplishments are just as impressive: she has led over 70 expeditions, logged more than 6,500 hours underwater and broken several deep-diving records. Most recently, Dr. Earle was named Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, and led the Google Ocean Advisory Council, which is a team of 30 marine scientists providing content and scientific oversight for the “Ocean in Google Earth.” Dr. Earle spoke eloquently about her current plans to establish a global network of marine protected areas. She calls these marine preserves “hope spots... to save and restore... the blue heart of the planet.” These accomplishments and more made Dr. Sylvia Earle a wonderful recipient of the America and the Sea Award. During her lifetime Dr. Earle has greatly contributed to the maritime traditions that Mystic Seaport was founded to cherish, preserve and share.

I’ve been a member of Mystic Seaport for almost 30 years, and I’ve always enjoyed boating and being on the water in anything from a schooner on Penobscot Bay to a kayak on Long Island Sound. However, my love affair with Mystic Seaport began many years ago with an overnight stay there on my sailboat. Walking along the waterfront at night was a magical experience that truly transported me back to the 1800s. In order to ensure that the Museum will be able to continue to instruct and delight its many visitors, it needs the support of its members. As a participant in the PILOT volunteer program I can lend my efforts now, and as a member of the Charles K. Stillman Society I can help plan for long range needs. I urge others to join me. Diantha Morse ................ Since Mystic Seaport was founded in 1929, private philanthropy has been the foundation of our growth and success. Over the past 80 years, countless Museum members and friends have given generously to support Mystic Seaport. Whether honoring the memory of a loved one, fulfilling a moral obligation, expressing gratitude for a service well-performed or demonstrating support for the educational mission of Mystic Seaport, this philanthropic support has been the wellspring of our success. You can help to ensure that our founders’ vision will carry forward for new generations of Americans by including Mystic Seaport in your estate plans. If you would like to learn more about planned and deferred gifts, bequests, charitable gift annuities and other methods of including Mystic Seaport in your charitable and estate plans, please contact: Chris Freeman, 860.572.5365 or plannedgiving

10% members’ discount!

Mystic Seaport Magazine |

Spring / Summer 2011

Spring / Summer 2011

| Mystic Seaport Magazine |



Lady Sopwith: A Lady at the Helm The Story about a Picture by Mary Anne Stets


ir Thomas Octave Murdock Sopwith, better known as T.O.M. Sopwith, was the owner and skipper of America’s Cup challengers Endeavour (1934) and Endeavour II (1937). The 130foot, J Class cutter Endeavour, designed by Charles E. Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholson, was the British challenger sailing against Harold S. Vanderbilt’s Rainbow. Endeavour was considered faster than Rainbow, having won the first two in a series of seven races, but in the end, Vanderbilt and his crew out-sailed her. Endeavour II, at 136 feet, was the largest racing cutter ever built at Camper & Nicholson, but was no match for Vanderbilt’s Super J, Ranger. These men had more in common than just their J Class yachts. Their wives both served as members of their afterguard and it was the first time in the history of America’s Cup that two women had raced against each other. Phyllis Brodie Gordon, born in 1892 in India, was the second wife of T.O.M. Sopwith. During both Cup Challenges, she was at his side, literally, on deck as his timekeeper, reporting minutes until the start, timing tacking duals to windward and spinnaker sets. This was no small task under the pressure of America’s Cup competition on these 130-feet-long and 140-ton yachts.

Lady Sopwith graces the cover of the On Land and On Sea by Margaret Andersen Rosenfeld. The book celebrates the lives of women in yachting, but also as workers, caregivers and sport personalities. For more information about this beautiful book, illustrated with extraordinary photographs from the Rosenfeld Collection at Mystic Seaport, please visit

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She shared her husband’s passion for competition and sailing. So much, that seven months after she gave birth to a son, Thomas Edward Brodie Sopwith, she was onboard Endeavour ready for the trials which took place in July and August 1934. She made a statement as the matriarch of Endeavour I and II. Although, she was not the only woman to sail in the America’s Cup, she was certainly the most memorable as the press gave her much attention. This portrait of Lady Phyllis Sopwith at the helm of Endeavour exemplifies her uniqueness, drive and focus. Her jaunty dress also expresses her femininity in the midst of fierce competition in what was a male-dominated sport. Her wonderful hat, adorned with the enamel burgee pin, secures her curls from the wind. Her pearls are a symbol of her self-confidence. Her silk scarf, flowing in the breeze, is complimenting the angle of her arm, accentuated by her white-gloved hand guiding Endeavour’s wheel with such grace. She set the tone for future women sailors. She is a heroine. And, after all, a woman’s place is at the helm. Mary Anne Stets is the Director of Collections Business Development & Intellectual Property at Mystic Seaport.

Before they can be discovered, acquired, preserved, restored, hung, displayed or launched, they must be funded.

PLEASE CONSIDER A DONATION TO THE MUSEUM. Mystic Seaport’s collection of historical vessels, photographs and maritime artifacts is among America’s most acclaimed. But we depend on donations to help us afford the costs of preserving it and showcasing it through our Museum, educational programs and staff members. Please invest in the future of our country’s past with a gift to our Annual Fund. Call Barbara Hollis at 860.572.5376 or visit to learn more. Leadership gifts of $1,000 or more qualify for membership in The America and the Sea Society and exclusive benefits, which include invitations to special events, lectures and behind-the-scenes tours.


75 Greenmanville Avenue PO Box 6000 Mystic, CT 06355-0990 Dated Material Do not hold

The 20th Annual

Board over 50 in-water boats, old and new Explore over 100 exhibits on land and in-water

June 24-26, 2011

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Profile for Kati Mystic-Seaport

Mystic Seaport Magazine - Spring/Summer 2011  

Mystic Seaport Magazine - Spring/Summer 2011, Skin & Bones Tattoos (cover story)

Mystic Seaport Magazine - Spring/Summer 2011  

Mystic Seaport Magazine - Spring/Summer 2011, Skin & Bones Tattoos (cover story)