Wood,Water & Light The Photographs of Benjamin Mendlowitz
Behind the Seams: Costume Shop Prepares for Lantern Light Tours
Like a Boat Out of Water | Library Makes a Move | O is for Oysters
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4 18 SIGHTINGS
Behind the Seams Costume shop prepares for Lantern Light Tours
Wood, Water & Light The photographs of Benjamin Mendlowitz
IN THE NEWS
GARDENING BY THE SEA . IN THE GALLEY
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Let Me Count the Ways How do you get a boat out of water?
Plum Pudding, Mincemeat and Turkey Holidays of the past at sea and ashore
ARMCHAIR SAILOR .
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS .
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BY THE NUMBERS .
. . . . . . . . . 32
SIGHTINGS M y s t i c S e a p o rt magazine
is a publication of Mystic Seaport
ast summer, Mystic Seaport took a significant step in its ongoing efforts to continually refresh and renew what it offers those who visit and become members. The Museum engaged a team of exhibit designers and architects to help plan a major series of expansions and enhancements to our year-round exhibiting and programming capabilities. Haley Sharpe Design, Ltd., is a multidisciplinary design practice based in the U.K. Their exhibit design portfolio includes the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; the National Center for the American Revolution in Philadelphia; and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. We have been very impressed by the creativity of the people on the Haley Sharpe team. Machado and Silvetti Associates is an architecture and urban design firm known for enhancing distinctive spaces and unique works of existing architecture in the U.S. and abroad. The firm has worked on such projects as the Getty Villa and Museum, Malibu, CA; the Rockefeller Stone Barns, Pocantico, NY; the Provincetown Art Association, Provincetown, MA; and the South Boston Maritime Park. We are particularly pleased about the quality of their work and their track record for working effectively with the communities adjoining their projects. The work these two firms are doing for us is supported by funds donated expressly for this project. Their focus is on the Museum’s “north campus,” the area fronting the Mystic River west of Route 27 and north of the Membership Building. It’s there that we have the greatest potential to improve in indoor ways that complement Mystic Seaport’s mostly outdoor historic village, waterfront and working shipyard, as well as the scenic elements of the community of which the Museum is an integral part. The exhibit designers are now working with the Museum’s staff to help select those compelling themes, stories and topics that will best inspire visitors and members, and thus fulfill the Museum’s mission through a continually refreshed series of exhibits and public programs. In particular, we seek to give our members, the community and our visitors even better coverage of thought-provoking and enjoyable “America and the Sea” stories than our limited exhibiting capabilities permit. For example, our collections of historic marine photography, spanning more than a century on the water, have great power to inform and inspire. Yet they remain mostly unseen by our audiences because we lack suitable exhibition galleries. In all of this, we will seek to preserve and enhance the best of Mystic Seaport while we concentrate on those parts of our public campus that have the greatest untapped potential to serve our visitors on a year-round, all-weather basis. As I like to put it, we will be “as good as always, and better than ever.” If you have ideas or suggestions to share, I encourage you to contact Project Coordinator Jenny Doak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.572.0711, ext.5004. And if you would like to contribute financially to this historic undertaking, I am grateful for your support of our shared vision. While all this is taking shape, we continue to offer an amazing variety of exhibits and programming. Be sure to visit this season and enjoy your Museum in all its winter beauty!
The Museum of America and the Sea President and Director Douglas H. Teeson director of communications Peter glankoff E d it o r Anna F. Sawin contributors CHristine bateman elysa engelman Molly Entin barbara Jarnigan michael o’farrell Produc tion Susan Heath Design Caspari McCormick Photography Kane Borden Dean Digital Imaging Benjamin Mendlowitz Dennis Murphy
photograph by Benjamin Mendlowitz Corporate Sponsors: Bank of America Foundation Foxwoods Resort Casino Northeast Utilities Foundation Mohegan Sun Pfizer Rolex Watch USA
E vent Sponsors: Burger Boat Company Coca-Cola of Southeastern New England Condé Nast Marsh USA Robinson & Cole SmithBarney Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. Steamboat Wharf Company Waterford Hotel Group\ The Westerly Hospital
president and director
3 41° NOR TH
J OSEPH C ONRAD
D ENNIS M URPHY
EARLY ONE FALL MORNING .
CAPTURED THIS IMAGE OF THE
“What made this image different from so
many other photos of the Conrad was the overcast sky and the curtain of fog. Framing the image in my camera, I especially liked the view of the Conrad from this low angle,
with the grass in the foreground,” says Murphy. The image was chosen as one of the featured images in the 2007 Mystic Seaport Members Edition Calendar.
JOANNA CADORETTE, MYSTIC SEAPORT COSTUMER
In preparation for her role in Mystic Seaport’s annual holiday celebration, Lantern Light Tours, Hallie Payne memorizes her script and walks the grounds. But nothing prepares her as much as putting on her costume. “The first time I put on my costume and laced up my corset, I literally felt ‘pulled’ into my character, Mrs. Palmer,” she said. Many people often overlook the role costumes play in each year’s performance. “People don’t know the 19th
“I feel so different in my costume. It really gives me a sense of character,” said Payne. “As soon as we take off our 21st-century clothing and put on our costumes, we begin thinking like our characters. We even start speaking differently—like saying ‘good evening’ instead of ‘good night.’” At the forefront of costume preparation is the Museum’s costumer, Joanna Cadorette. Her interest in costumes reaches back to her childhood when she visited Colonial Williamsburg and Old Sturbridge Village with her family. Her sister also had a passion for collecting 19th-century clothing that Cadorette found interesting. After receiving a B.F.A. from Tufts University, Cadorette worked as a curatorial intern at Colonial Williamsburg to learn about patterns and how they worked. There she created designs based on originals in the collections—designs that would later be used in reproductions of garments. In 1993, Cadorette began working as a tailor at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA, where she researched and studied Elizabethan embroidery design and techniques. She came to Mystic Seaport in 1999 and is in charge of creating period costumes worn and used as educational tools by the Museum’s role players, as well as in Mystic Seaport’s theatrical productions, holiday programs and special events. In preparation for the holiday season at Mystic Seaport, Cadorette spends hour upon hour researching, sewing, washing and drying. Surrounded by piles of fabric, drawers full of patterns and walls covered in inspirational artwork by the likes of Winslow Homer and Edgar Degas, Cadorette works long hours as the seasonal event approaches. The challenge to assemble 100 costumes for the cast of Lantern Light Tours begins in October. Even before the final cast is chosen, each potential cast member
century,” said Marelda Hart, director of Lantern Light Tours. “Clothes serve as a point of reference for the cast and the visitors. When a person puts a costume on, they become their character. When visitors go on a tour, they expect authenticity.”
visits Cadorette in the costume shop to have their measurements taken. With measurements in hand, she begins pulling costumes that might fit not just the person, but the character. Starting the second week of October and trickling well into November, back-to-back fittings are scheduled daily with the cast. These half-hour sessions are critical to developing the right look for each person’s character. Cast members try on clothes, shoes, hats and capes, while Cadorette marks the clothes for alteration if necessary. Since the Lantern Light Tours script changes each year, sometimes there is nothing in the collection of costumes that will work for a particular person or character. In this case, Cadorette will start from scratch, making or buying new costumes. She has many original patterns from the pattern archives at the University of Rhode Island, and in some cases will make costumes from patterns that came free in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar in the 1800s. With so many costumes, storage is tight in the costume shop. The rooms are full of clothing, rows and rows of men’s and women’s shoes and boots, and drawers full of accessories, such as brooches, gloves and hair pins. Low ceilings, narrow hallways and small closets make the rooms seem even smaller. As the performance dates approach, the costume shop begins its transition into dressing
although they give her ideas, they are not absolutes. “I think it’s a mistake for us to believe we can know for certain how people behaved, dressed or carried themselves in the past,”
As the cast expands, we eventually run out of clothes to fit
rooms for the cast. Along with finishing all the production on time comes the challenge of keeping all the clothing, hairstyles and accessories in the look of the 19th century. While research has given Cadorette guidelines as to how to dress and accessorize the cast, she still finds this part challenging. The pictures on Cadorette’s wall, novels, diaries and photographs all serve as references of how men and women wore their hair, laced their shoes or wore a piece of jewelry. But
the people we have. But the nice part is that each time we have to make something, we have it for next year, and as the inventory grows, so do our options for the future.
- Costumer Cadorette
said Cadorette. “The only thing we can do is study our sources and try to interpret them as best we can and always be open to new ways of interpreting history.” Cadorette likes to give the cast the option to wear more complete costumes in order to give them a richer experience into the history aspect of the Museum, as well as improve the overall look of the play. This can involve details such as corsets and petticoats. “Although it is challenging, getting closer to more and more accurate details is always my goal,” said Cadorette. “I would like to help people to get closer to the feel of period dress and get more involved in the history of the mid- to late 19th century through their dress as much as possible. “[I enjoy] having the opportunity to build on and improve the costume inventory and see progress from year to year,” she said. “When people tell me that they have learned something new from wearing the clothes, I am happy.” E -MOLLY ENTIN
TAKING ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN Add Diane Sawyer of Good Morning America to the list of people wanting to know if there is paranormal activity aboard the Charles W. Morgan. The ABC morning show, seen by millions every day, ran a four-minute segment about the story June 26—two days after the Rhode Island Paranormal Research Group reported on its full investigation of the vessel. The group was aboard Saturday night, the story ran Monday and was concluded by Sawyer conducting a live interview of Museum President Doug Teeson. The CBS Evening News also ran a national story about the Morgan and its purported paranormal activity. That segment ran August 12. 7
LEARNING THEIR ROLE
WOOD CONTINUES TO BE GOOD The story about Mystic Seaport acquiring Live Oak trees from the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast provided the Museum with publicity in numerous national outlets—including CNN, The New York Times and nearly 100 television stations. The story reached even more people nationally July 15 when it aired on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. NPR correspondent Noah Adams interviewed Shipyard Director Quentin Snediker for a story that also featured conversations with two tree donors. The end result? More exposure for the Charles W. Morgan as we try to make her famous yet again.
Headline writers at the Providence Journal, one of the larger daily papers in New England, must have had fun when working on the paper’s story about the annual Melville Marathon at Mystic Seaport, where visitors read the classic Moby-Dick in 24 hours. They dubbed the story “Whale of a Tale.” Predictable? Maybe. But the fact is a reporter and photographer from Rhode Island’s leading paper perfectly captured the spirit and atmosphere at one of the Museum’s most unique events. Reporter Bryan Rourke recounted personal stories of those who have attended previous readings and gave insight into what happens after hours—when just a few hearty souls remain on deck overnight.
OPEN 24 HOURS
A story originally published in the Hartford Courant about role playing at Mystic Seaport has gone on to receive national attention. A number of newspapers, including the Arkansas DemocratGazette and the Columbian in Vancouver, Washington, picked up the story about the role-playing apprentice program at Mystic Seaport led by Rebecca Donohue. The article not only spotlights those learning to become role players, but Museum veterans, too, including Janice Whiteman and Robert Schneider.
EW PARTNERSHIP FOR MYSTIC SEAPORT
Mystic Seaport has joined forces with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in a collaborative initiative, Pursuit to Preservation: The Story of American Whaling. The collaboration combines the considerable strengths of all three institutions through a variety of initiatives that leverage their respective collections, resources and expertise while cross-promoting programs and venues to larger audiences. Components include whaleboat races, volunteer and staff training, a lecture and performance series, reciprocal free admission for members at selected events, teacher professional development and family activities. A central focus of the collaboration is the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaleship in the world. Built in New Bedford, MA, in 1841, she has resided at Mystic Seaport since 1941. “Mystic Seaport is the proud steward of this National Historic Landmark,” said Doug Teeson, president and director of Mystic Seaport. “While the Morgan has strong ties around the world, perhaps its strongest are still in New Bedford. Through this partnership, all of us can continue to learn more about the Morgan and who sailed her. More importantly, we can celebrate her, particularly as she will undergo major restoration in fall 2007, a project which will lead to numerous educational opportunities for all involved.”
EAS, SCHOONERS AND FISHERMEN
A new exhibit, The Seas, the Schooners and the Fishermen: Thomas Hoyne’s Paintings of the North Atlantic, featuring the fine art paintings of Thomas Hoyne will open in June 2007 at Mystic Seaport. A successful commercial illustrator, Hoyne devoted the final years of his life to the creation of elegant and poetic paintings of the 19- and 20-century commercial fishing fleet of the North Atlantic. Although he came from a family of lawyers, stockbrokers and civic leaders, Hoyne followed his early interest in the arts at the University of Illinois in a course of architectural studies. Hoyne’s lifelong interest in the sea and the North Atlantic fisheries became his passion when he was diagnosed with cancer and gave up his commercial art career to paint “scenes for my own enjoyment,” as he related in a speech at Mystic Seaport in 1983. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, and in 1983 he was given the Rudolph J. Schaefer Award at the Mystic International, an honor given to the artist whose work best documents our nation’s maritime heritage. His paintings are in numerous private and public collections including Peabody Essex Museum, Mystic Seaport and Ventura County Maritime Museum. Hoyne’s paintings depict images of the hand-liners that fished from small dories dispersed from a schooner constantly threatened by storms,
Mystic Seaport has opened its newest exhibit, Yacht Tales: Stories from the World of Recreational Sailing. The exhibit presents four stories that suggest how yachting— once a pastime for the wealthy—has become more accessible for all. They feature: Arthur Curtiss James, a man of wealth who cruised the world’s oceans and believed owners should know how to skipper their own yachts; Captain Thomas Hawkins, a professional yacht captain who worked for those who could not sail; the Star, a middle-class racing sailboat that became popular all over the world; and the Albatross, a yacht-turned-classroom that sank in 1961. Support for the exhibit was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Galkin, Mr. Warren B. Galkin, Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Marsellus, Ms. Anne Ramsey, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Webster Walker and donors in memory of Christopher B. Sheldon.
nis Murphy, Mystic Seaport y Den to b o h P
Marie Engelman has received the 2006 William C. Noyes Volunteer of the Year Award. Engelman began volunteering at Mystic Seaport in March 2002 and has since contributed 1,350 hours. She has served the Museum in many areas including Interpretation, Volunteer Services, Lantern Light Tours and Community Carol Sing. “Marie epitomizes the highest standard for a Mystic Seaport volunteer,” said Senior Development Officer Lisa Reed. “Her infectious enthusiasm and can-do attitude is an inspiration.” The Award was established in 1998 through the generosity of Noyes’ widow, Bettye, and donations received in Bill’s memory. Noyes volunteered close to 6,000 hours between 1983 and 1997. The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented each year to a Museum volunteer who “best personifies Billy Noyes’ example and the ‘true spirit’ of a Mystic Seaport volunteer.” Volunteers are nominated by Museum staff and a winner is chosen by a committee headed by Rhoda Hopkins, supervisor of volunteers. This year, the committee also presented two new awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors longtime volunteer Art Payne. Prior to his death in June, Payne volunteered more than 5,500 hours at Mystic Seaport. He was a skilled clock repairman and worked on the Mystic Scale River Model from its inception in 1958. The Libby and Pickett family were awarded the Outstanding Family Award. Elizabeth Libby, Stephen Pickett and their two children, Evan and Tristan Pickett, volunteer their time in the Communications Department, where they complete a multitude of office tasks.
Yacht Tales: Stories from the World of Recreational Sailing is now located in the lower level of the Mallory Exhibit Hall. 2006 Volunteer of the Year, Marie Engelman
currents, ice and fog and by the transatlantic steamers, whose lanes ran close by the fishing grounds. His images also celebrate the fast and seaworthy ships built “Down East” in the shipyards along the New England coast. Hoyne’s paintings reveal the poetry of the North Atlantic seas, the able schooners and the men who fished them—in short, his work embodies the grandeur of the era. The exhibit was brought to Mystic Seaport in collaboration with the Ventura County Maritime Museum.
OLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
nug between the R. J. Schaefer Exhibit Hall and the Museum’s north entrance, the G. W. Blunt White Library stands quietly on the north end of the campus. Perched atop the white cupola, a weathervane reflects in the sunlight. The stone building is home to nearly 75,000 volumes of books, and there isn’t room for any more.
There is a traditional thought that libraries are built with 20 years’ growth in mind. Library Director and Vice President of Collections Paul
The Museum plans to begin relocating the library collections this winter. The Collections Research Center will offer a larger, climate-
O’Pecko says Mystic Seaport’s G. W. Blunt White Library opened in 1965 and ran out of proper space after the first 20 years. Library staff has jury-rigged every available space to
controlled space for the library material. “Creating a single department dealing with all the Museum’s collections allows us to work with them in a more efficient manner,” said O’Pecko.
accommodate the library’s vast collections,
“This will give the public greater access to the
which include 1,000,000 pieces of manuscript
collections while also giving the materials
material, more than 1,300 logbooks, 900 oral
history audio and videotapes, 10,000 charts and
In addition to the relocation, new compact
maps and the aforementioned 75,000 volumes of
shelving will be purchased specifically for the move.
books and periodicals.
The large amount of shelving will give the library
Environment is also a concern. The potential
room for growth. The acquisition of the shelving
for water incursion into the basement and
is made possible in part by the Davenport Family
damage to the collections stored there is likely. “If we are ever in harm’s way of the 100-year flood, our basement and the 12,000 books in it would be devastated if we could not move them in time,” said O’Pecko. In the event of severe weather, the Museum’s Williams-Mystic students are tasked with relo-
and hundreds of books,” he said. “Nearly 25 students made a very efficient human book chain.” When they had finished, the students hunkered down in the Munson Room with bedding, food and water and the movie Star Wars to ride out the storm. “Ten to 15 minutes before the storm’s landfall, we heard a loud banging on the door,” said Carlton. “A couple in a small boat
Foundation, supporting the project with nearly half of what the shelving will cost. In addition to the generosity of the Davenport Family Foundation, the Library Fellows have begun supporting the match. The Fellows are a group of more than 50 professionals who are joined together to support the Library, its collections and programs. Organized in 1981, the Library Fellows include researchers, university faculty, writers, librarians, booksellers and others with maritime and library interests. The Fellows are dedicated to supporting the library by encouraging research, publication and scholarship. They also provide financial support for special programs, acquisitions and library endowment. The Fellows also offer annual prizes and awards, such as the Morris Prize, a prize of $1,000 for a previously unpublished article in American maritime history, and the Maritime History Prize, given to the best paper written by a resident undergraduate student. O’Pecko anticipates that at least half of the funding will come from the group. “They have been the library’s strongest supporters,” he said. “The move of the library to the Collections Research Center is vital for the library’s future
had nearly given up on finding shelter and was searching for safety on the grounds. Luckily, we were in the library and let them in.” Mystic Seaport escaped any serious damage from the storm.
and its collections,” said Joe Callaghan, president of the Library Fellows. “This move will provide more extensive access for all users, put an invaluable collection in a safer environment, as well as provide urgently needed room for growth.”
cating the collections to higher ground. This plan took effect in preparation for Hurricane Gloria in September 1985. As the storm approached, the students formed a human chain, starting in the farthest reaches of the basement where the government documents and periodicals were held. Items were passed from student to student down the hallway and up the stairs until all the items had been moved. Jim Carlton, Williams-Mystic director, remembers that day well. “We moved hundreds
- Molly Entin
useums on the ove M M
a traveling Amistad exhibit
Mystic Seaport creates
How do you create a 400-square-foot traveling exhibit that does it all: is attractive and informative, light but sturdy,
Five free-standing graphic panels (actually customized trade-show displays) represent the Amistad story with dramatic scenes, historical images, maps and landscapes drawn by illustrator Mike Eagle, and label copy exploring the key themes and events. The panels themselves hang on lightweight pop-up frames that support lights and the electricity for the different interactives. Each six-foot-high unit collapses to fit inside its own traveling case, which also serves as a display pedestal. Binders with facsimiles of important legal documents and biographical information about the individual Africans round out the presentation, along with a computer station with Mystic Seaport’s Amistad website and a short video of the Freedom Schooner’s construction at the Museum’s shipyard. The end result? An engaging and visually stunning display that can be packed inside a standard cargo van and set up by two people in under one day. Mission accomplished! - ELYSA ENGELMAN
LEFT TO RIGHT: 1) Once the rigid sails and masts are removed, the model’s hull flips upside down so all elements fit inside the crate for travel. 2) Visitors can explore the Amistad story in depth at the computer station. 3) A binder with short bios and portraits of the captives.
expandable yet self-contained and appealing to all ages? And, how do you use it to tell the complex story of the 1839 Amistad incident, which started with the illegal enslavement of 53African men and children, climaxed in a revolt at sea and resulted in a landmark Supreme Court case? It might sound like a design challenge on a TV reality show, but this was a real-world request made to the Exhibits Department last winter. Amistad America wanted to debut a new introductory exhibit during the Freedom Schooner Amistad’s July visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Supported by a federal grant, it partnered with Mystic Seaport to create a historically accurate, sturdy and beautiful display. The exhibit plan evolved through brainstorming sessions, historical research, sketches and three-dimensional scale models. The final design takes the visitor on a chronological and geographic trip, from a West African village scene complete with touchable tools, cloth and musical instruments, through a discussion of the transatlantic slave trade and the horrific Middle
Passage. At the center is a three-dimensional mockup of the cargo schooner with drawers that open to reveal more info about the captives, crew and conditions aboard.
FROM THE COLLECTIONS
S EAPORT ’ S
CURATORS AGREE THAT THE SAFEST
PLACE FOR ANY HISTORICAL OBJECT IS SECURELY TUCKED AWAY IN A
temperature-controlled, light-regulated, archival-quality storage unit. But they also recognize that if every one of the Museum’s more than two million maritime artifacts remain safely within the
Collections Research Center walls, the Museum would sail far off course from its mission statement: to create a broad, public understanding of the relationship of America and the sea. 12 “We cannot fully learn about our past when we cannot see its objects,” observes Exhibits Director Jonathan Shay. And so, the Museum makes many of its objects available throughout the campus— aboard the ships, within the village and inside the exhibit galleries. But what you may not know is this: The effort doesn’t stop at the borders of the Mystic Seaport campus. Through two primary loan programs—objects-on-loan and traveling exhibits—the Museum works with other like-minded institutions around the world to expand the reach of our mission statement. These programs not only broaden the Museum’s reach but, as Shay notes, they are also “a great way to utilize the true breadth and depth of our collections, and capitalize on the cross-fertilization of resources and knowledge that comes from building relationships with other institutions.”
OBJECTS-ON-LOAN Today, the Museum has almost 200 objects out on loan to other institutions. “In general, we loan to other nonprofit, educational institutions like libraries, museums or historical societies,” says Rodi York, registrar and coordinator of the loan program. “But we also sometimes loan to local organizations and federal programs, like the Art in Embassies program.” In most cases, a curator from another institution will call the Museum to request objects that fit a particular exhibit theme. Because every object loan requires a complicated behind-the-scenes process, from conservation work to loan agreement preparation to facility survey, most objects don’t actually leave the Museum until six months after the initial request. Some objects travel for only a month, others for up to one year, and still others remain on what York describes as “long-term” loan. She highlights one long-term object loan of note: Since 1977, a whaleboat from the Museum’s Collections has been displayed at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Whaleboats and whaling materials are a popular loan request, along with paintings and ship models. In fact, the objects farthest away from the Museum right now are a selection of whaleboat materials on long-term loan to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. But the farthest distance a Museum object has ever traveled is Western Samoa, where, in 1994, a variety of Robert Louis Stevenson’s personal effects traveled to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
FROM THE COLLECTIONS
T R AV E L I N G E X H I B I T S It’s no secret, acknowledges Shay, that in recent years, museums and other cultural institutions have struggled to make ends meet. Shay and his exhibits staff met that challenge a few years ago with an important new loan program—traveling exhibits. They realized that by lending out not just objects, but an entire exhibit—including graphics, text panels, audio-visual materials and more—the Museum could defray costs, expand its reach and accomplish its mission in a brand-
Maine with notable maritime connections. In addition to Women & the Sea, Mystic Seaport also travels the Sea Dogs! Great Tails of the Sea exhibit, and Shay hopes to travel Black Hands, Blue Seas: The Maritime Heritage of African Americans after it closes. While York echoes Shay on the core benefits of an object loan, she adds one special side benefit, “Sometimes when we make an object available to another public institution, we hear something back about it, learn something more about it.” By reaching out beyond the borders of the Museum campus and working together with the borrowing institution’s visitors, she said, we are able to refine the collection’s historical account of an object. In this way, visitors around the world become an important participant in fulfilling our mission to better understand the fascinating and complex relationship between America and the sea. - C H R I S T I N E B AT E M A N
new way, all while building strong, creative relationships with our sister institutions. Shay cites the Women & the Sea exhibit as a great example of this creative synergy. The original exhibit was conceived by the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, VA. When the Mariners’ Museum exhibit closed, Mystic Seaport borrowed their text panels and a half-dozen objects, then built up the exhibit’s central themes with hundreds more objects from the Museum’s collections. Women & the Sea was on display at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, ME, and is now at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Each museum gives the exhibit its own unique touch: Penobscot augmented the show with objects from its own collection, and created an evening speaker series that highlighted women from
COUNT THE WAYS HOW DO YOU GET A BOAT IN ( OR OUT) OF THE WATER? 14
With approximately 500 vessels in Mystic Seaport’s Watercraft Collection, not a day goes by that the Shipyard staff isn’t inspecting, maintaining or restoring
IT’S LIKE A SHIP OUT OF WATER…NO, REALLY!
historic boats. But before the Shipyard staff can work on one of the vessels that you see floating along the waterfront, they first have to get it out of the water. From the smallest rowboat to the largest whaling ship, here are the Museum’s six tried-and-true methods for hauling vessels out of the river and onto dry land.
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK For the smallest boats in the collection—including rowboat and sailboat rentals, as well as the JY15s and Dyer Dhows used in sailing classes and camps—we use good, old-fashioned manpower. A small group of people work together to haul the boat by hand and carry it to the appropriate place.
ONE FORKLIFT OR TWO? When hauling larger rowboats, dories or whaleboats out of the water, we use forklifts. Depending on the vessel’s size, one or two forklifts approach the water’s edge with a long boom attached either perpendicular or parallel to the vessel. Large, weight-bearing slings dangle from the boom and are then snugly wrapped around the vessel. After the vessel is hauled, a single forklift will usually transport the vessel directly to the Shipyard, or the two forklifts will transfer the vessel onto a trailer for transport.
HEY, VESSEL, WANT A RIDE? In the railway method, a wooden carriage rolls down a short set of tracks, or ways, into the water. A medium-large vessel—a large sharpie, the sandbagger Annie, oyster sloop Nellie, or Crosby catboat Breck Marshall—is guided into position to rest on top of the carriage. A motorized vehicle then hauls the carriage and vessel
back up the railway and onto dry land. Most maintenance and restoration work is completed right there along the waterfront.
BRING IN THE BIG RIG When we have to haul some of our heaviest medium-large vessels, like the Eastern-rig dragger Roann or the Noank fish and lobster boat Star, we bring in some of the heaviest hauling equipment. Rarely used, this method involves the rental of a massive vessel-hauling crane and boat-specific
keel blocks on the platform touch the bottom of the ship, the divers will again check for positioning, and continue to do so as the lift rises slowly and carefully. When the boat begins to lose its stability in the water, the divers will ensure that the side supports are moved into the appropriate place. Once the Morgan reaches ground level, a large motorized vehicle will slowly and carefully pull the cradle along a track that will guide the vessel into position for her restoration.
trailer to do the job. In the case of Roann, currently undergoing a major restoration, a crane lifted the vessel onto blocks set right next to the waterfront. Shipyard staff then spent a month scraping down her hull and
GIVE HER A LIFT In anticipation of a massive, three-year restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the Museum is in the process of installing of a brand-new vertical ship lift located behind the Shipyard. This ship lift will haul the Museum’s largest vessels, including the Morgan, fishing schooner L. A. Dunton, square-rigged training ship Joseph Conrad and steamboat Sabino. Like the old lift dock, the new ship lift uses the same elevator-like process. When the time comes to haul the Morgan out of the water, a platform with a large cradle covered by keel blocks will be lowered into the river. Then the Museum’s family of workboats will gather around the elderly matriarch and guide her gently into place above the lift. Divers ensure appropriate positioning before the platform begins its gradual return to the surface. When the
pressure on any one part of the vessel, you can damage her.” Unlike the old lift dock, the new ship lift is loaded with safety features that will ensure success in safely hauling out the Morgan and our other large vessels. These features include sophisticated load monitoring, a synchronized motor system and increased environmental protection. “Our equipment will now meet world standards of quality work and design to
Dana Hewson, vice president of watercraft preservation and programs, credits the new ship lift’s design and construction in large part to two key participants: Project Manager Bill Parent and Naval Architect Jack Llewellyn. “Bill has years of experience in the management of complex projects, so he is ideally suited for this type of work,” says Hewson, “and Jack’s high degree of technical understanding was instrumental in the design process.” Snediker calls Llewellyn the “overall guiding intellectual force of the project.” There you have it—Mystic Seaport’s top six methods for hauling a boat out of the water. So the next time you visit the Museum, keep your eyes peeled, and you may see our shipyard staff actively employing one of these methods to keep our watercraft in the best possible condition, so that each vessel may continue to demonstrate its important role in American maritime history. - CHRISTINE BATEMAN
disassembling the vessel enough to fit her inside the 75-man shop shipyard. Once she was ready for transport, a trailer slowly carried Roann from the blocks into the shop.
The slow, deliberate nature of the lift process is critical, notes Shipyard director Quentin Snediker. “If you put too much
ensure the best possible care of our vessels,” says Snediker.
GARDENING BY THE SEA
FOR ALL SEASONS
As winter approaches, the sweetly scented and brightly colored roses of a balmy day in June are rarely on our minds. But some roses add interest to the landscape in all seasons with their contributions of colorful foliage and fruit. New Englanders, when thinking of roses and gardens by the sea, almost always consider Rosa rugosa, the Salt Spray rose. Following its introduction from Japan, it escaped cultivation, naturalizing along sandy beaches, becoming so common that many consider it a native plant. Ours are planted along the waterfront at Hobey’s Dock, providing fragrant blooms late spring through fall, and fruit well into the winter. The historic roses at the BuckinghamHall House, while not considered seaside roses, are noteworthy and tolerant of our waterside exposure. Rosa Mundi (Rosa gallica versicolor) is a sport of the Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis). Gallicas are the oldest of the cultivated roses, hardy and tolerant of a variety of conditions. The fragrance of the petals intensifies as they are dried, and, historically, they were used in medicines and perfumes. Valuable as a small hardy shrub, they keep a neat appearance when not in their bloom. Their wellperfumed blossoms are striking, as no two are
alike. Loosely semi-double, they are splashed with deep pink and soft crimson on blush pink in June. Legend attributes Fair Rosamond Clifford, mistress to King Henry II, as the namesake. The Redleaf Rose (Rosa rubrifolia or R. glauca), native to central Europe, was introduced to the United States in 1830. Its outstanding foliage has blue-gray-green tones if grown in the shade. Purple and deep red tones are present if grown in sunny conditions. The strong, clean, dark purple canes are nearly thornless. Single, bright pink flowers are born in bunches, contrasting with the deep foliage. The petals are separated, giving a starlike appearance, further enhanced by a white center, crowned by yellow stamens. Colorful fall foliage is followed by glossy red hips that persist into early winter. The hips provide a food source for mice, and dropped seeds produce seedlings true to the parent type. This rose, in particular, attracts visitor interest in all seasons. Harison’s Yellow, planted at the back kitchen door of the Buckingham-Hall House, is an American hybrid of Rosa foetida and Rosa pimpinellifolia (R. spinosissima). Various dates between 1820 and 1830 have been attributed to its hybridization by George F. Harison. Although its prominent semi-double sunshine yellow flowers are present only for a week or two in June, they brighten the entire area. Tolerant of neglect, cold, drought and extreme exposure, and readily transplantable, this rose traveled westward with settlers, perhaps reflecting the spirit of the settlers themselves, resourceful and adaptable.
Gardening by the Sea columnist Leigh Knuttel studied botany at Connecticut College and has worked in ornamental horticulture for many years. She is the Museum’s supervisor of grounds and is responsible for many of the fascinating plants at Mystic Seaport.
IN THE GALLEY
O Is For Oyster Drink a toast to the “brotherhood of the raised elbow.”
Saturday oyster truck, Sallie picks out a few to set aside for the holiday. Next week is Thanksgiving and they will be out celebrating at the Buckingham-Hall House. Her grandmother’s famous scalloped oysters will certainly be a welcome addition to the table alongside the bounty of birds — roast turkey and goose, grilled quail and perhaps a pheasant if they are lucky. Today, this same joy of eating oysters is probably most celebrated at the historic Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City. With oysters now available to us year round, they advertise at least 100 different varieties from all over the world, Alaska to Japan. Try a Belon, Blue Point, Chipi-Chipi, Kumamoto or even a Coon oyster from Florida. The long, gleaming counters at their spectacular raw bar are set with huge platters of crushed ice, lemons and bowls of spicy cocktail sauce (do make your own!). The festive mood may be somewhat different than at Sparks on a cold winter night more than 100 years ago, but if you look at the faces in the brightly lit mirrored walls, you might just see the reflection of Captain Daniel Packer and his wife Sallie as they smile and reflect that the tradition of the “brotherhood of the raised elbow” has not been erased by time.
AINSLIE TURNER IS A LOCALLY RENOWNED AUTHOR, CHEF, RESTAURATEUR AND LECTURER. SADLY FOR FOOD LO VERS EVERYWHERE, THIS IS AINSLIE’S FINAL COLUMN FOR MYSTIC SEAPORT MAGAZINE. VISIT WWW.MYSTICSEAPORT.ORG/RECIPES FOR ANOTHER OYSTER RECIPE FROM AINSLIE.
Special Request Scalloped Oysters A much-heralded Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition 1 pint shucked oysters 2 cups coarsely ground cracker crumbs (use buttery crackers) 1/2 cup melted butter 3/4 cup light cream
1/4 cup oyster liquor (reserved from oysters) 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp. salt Dash of black pepper
Drain oysters, reserving 1/4 cup of liquor. Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter. Spread 1/3 of crumb mixture in a well-greased 8-inch round casserole dish. Cover with half the oysters and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using another third of the crumbs, spread a second layer, cover with remaining oysters and again season with salt and pepper. Mix cream, oyster liquor and Worcestershire sauce and pour over oysters. Top with last of crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve bubbly hot. Serves 4.
lose your eyes, click your heels and go back in time a century or so to Mystic on a snowy white winter evening. Walking down Greenmanville Avenue and across the Mystic River Bridge, Captain Daniel Packer (just off a whaling ship from New Bedford) and his new bride, Sallie, are out looking for a bite to eat. Passing several shops closing for the day, they pause at the window of Sparks Mystic Bakery. It certainly looks like a spot for a snug supper. No lace on the windows here, just rough wooden benches and tables set with bowls of lemons, a crock of butter and soda crackers. A written placard on the table announces the fare of the day: Oysters (Watch Hill Premiums or Long Island Napeague), bean soup, Graham bread, donuts, boiled joint, cod cakes, pickled cabbage and plum duff. Tonight, yearning for a rare treat, they choose a dozen of each oyster at the counter and wash them down with a pint of ale. A sign overhead reads, “Drink a toast to the brotherhood of the raised elbow,” a tribute to the oyster-loving clientele. By the door, a large oak barrel is piled with pints of shucked oysters buried in ice. Not wanting to wait for the
WO O D , WAT E R & L I G H T
The Photographs of Benjamin Mendlowitz
Photo by Louise E. Rothery
MARINE PHOTOGRAPHER BENJAMIN MENDLOWITZ, best known for his award-winning Calendar of Wooden Boats® and luminous contributions to nautical publications, spoke with Mystic Seaport magazine editor Anna Sawin about some of his now iconic calendar photos, going digital and what we’ll see next from him.
Q. The Calendar of Wooden Boats , a gorgeous calendar
that hangs in many offices around Mystic Seaport, is celebrating 25 years this year. From all the thousands of images you shoot each year, how do you choose the final 12?
What would you still like to accomplish as a photographer?
Q. What’s hanging on your walls at home? A. Let’s see, I have a few images of my boat and my family on the boat; I have a few Rosenfeld images from Mystic Seaport, a few prints by Ansel Adams and I have some paintings by a local artist. What I’m saying is that I don’t have my own images hanging there—I see enough of them at work!
I’m ready for some new settings. For 25 years, we’ve done Maine, New England and the Mediterranean racing scene. I’d like to try some new environments, perhaps Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and Scandinavia.
[Maritime historian and former Mystic Seaport trustee] Maynard Bray and I are slowly working on a book on the Nathaniel Herreshoff boats still in existence, using the original drawings and lots of photographs. It is coming together slowly, so it will be a few years yet!
What’s the next publication in the works?
Q. What types of boats do you especially enjoy photographing? A. I think Buzzards Bay 25s are just spectacular. I also really like Alden schooners and other schooners, both working and yachts, peapods and catboats. In general, for sailboats, I find gaff-rigged boats to be much more photogenic than a Marconi rig.
I’m struggling with the transition from film to digital—it’s just really this year that I have been getting my digital feet under me. For each shoot, I’ve been using film and digital. Most photographers are switching now, or have already made the switch. Digital has improved so much in the last few years. We’ll see what next year brings.
Well, six or 10 of us get together and review images. We all come in with our favorites. We gradually narrow it down and finally get to about 16 images. At that point, any one of them is good enough for the calendar, and then it just comes down to the right mix—power vs. sail, action vs. quiet, and so on. It’s an arduous process, especially for me, since I am more invested in each shot than the rest of the group.
For the photography buffs out there, the question for you is, digital or film?
WO O D , WAT E R & L I G H T
ver the years, Mendlowitz has compiled a photo archive of thousands of wooden boats, from simple prams and work-boats to glorious classic sailing vessels and magnificent power yachts. The images on these pages, chosen from among the 25 cover photographs of the Calendar of Wooden Boats , represent a “best of” collection of Mendlowitz’s work. Here, he comments on some of his favorite images. ®
1989 Torna, 37' COAST YAWL SOUTH BROOKSVILLE, ME “I came across this boat at a local boatyard in Maine one spring. It was a yard that still used a railway rather than a travel lift. It is increasingly harder to find an image like this, of a boat on the ways in a cradle.”
1991 Pride of Baltimore II, 97' TOPSAIL SCHOONER BROOKLIN, ME “This was an early morning in Brooklin. I was out in my motorboat and I came across this beautiful scene. The low light of early morning brought on a beautiful reflection. I like this shot because you see just enough of the rig to get a feel for the boat.”
1993 Breck Marshall, 20' C. CROSBY CATBOAT MYSTIC, CT “I took this one fall evening at Mystic Seaport, way upriver, near the cemetery. Maynard and I wanted a shot of this boat for the calendar. I like how it shows the shape of the rig and what a great downwind sailor a gaff rig is in light air.”
1994 Starlight, 39' CONCORDIA YAWL PENOBSCOT BAY, ME “This is my boat, so she is always around when the light is good! This is a scene off Greens Island on the coast of Maine. I went for an early-morning row, and loved the full sun on the boat contrasting with the dark shoreline.”
WO O D , WAT E R & L I G H T
Voyager, 50' ALDEN SCHOONER MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA “I was invited to join Voyager in Tahiti, while they were on an extended round-the-world trip. They had just come off a long passage, and were delighting in the comforts of being close to shore in Papeete. However, it wasn’t very conducive to photographs with all the other modern cruising boats out there. So after a few days, we took a sail over to Moorea, where it was quiet and lush. I like to isolate a boat in its natural environment, and this photo is a good example of that.”
1998 Madigan, 25' GREAT SOUTH BAY CATBOAT LONG ISLAND, NY “This was shot near Shelter Island, specifically for the calendar. Madigan was a bit over-rigged, and needed four people to sail it, to flatten it out. For this shot, I asked two of them to hide during the photos when the wind was light enough.”
WO O D , WAT E R & L I G H T
1999 Tuiga, 74' FIFE 15-METER CLASS SLOOP MONACO “Tuiga is one of the 15-meters in Europe that has been restored. It races in the big Mediterranean classic regattas. These regattas have a strict rating rule that heavily penalizes modern equipment, so most yachts are faithfully restored to avoid the racing penalties. For this image, I asked the crew to go out in this hazy blue Mediterranean evening. There was very little wind, so they are all along the leeward rail to help keep the sails full.”
2001 Brilliant, 61' S&S SCHOONER DEER ISLE, ME “This was in the Camden feeder race to the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. We had picked up what we call a ‘smoky southwester’ near Stonington, and while I usually prefer to shoot a boat when it is on the wind, Brilliant was moving along so well that I got her from this more unusual angle.”
2003 Vitessa and Flying Dream, 32' BUZZARDS BAY 25s RED BROOK HARBOR, MA “There was just enough wind that afternoon (these boats are great in light air), and patches of blue in the sky, so between the light on the boats and the darkness of the clouds, I got this dramatic image. We didn’t get rain, but it was the kind of weather where you often see a rainbow.”
2006 Juno, 65' NAT BENJAMIN SCHOONER LESSER ANTILLES, CARIBBEAN “This was on a delivery with friends from the Grenadines to Antigua. It was a vacation and delivery more than a photography trip—an easy tack the whole way. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of this for use in the calendar or else I would have taken the canvas covers off the forward companionway to show more wood. I like this image because it puts you right in the scene as opposed to viewing from afar.”
Longtime Mystic Seaport member (and Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous judge) Benjamin Mendlowitz will be speaking at Mystic Seaport on March 15, 2007, as part of the 2006–2007 Adventure Series. To inquire about ticket availability, please call 860.572.5339. In addition, an exhibition of his work will be displayed at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in March. The
2007 Calendar of Wooden Boats® and other publications featuring Mendlowitz’s work are available (with 10 percent member discount) at the Museum Store.
A SELECTION OF MARITIME BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FROM MUSEUM STAFF AND MEMBERS
TUGBOATS OF NEW YORK: An Illustrated History by George Matteson, New York University Press, 2005
HAVE A BOOK TO SHARE? Write to the editor, Anna Sawin, at email@example.com
THE LONG SHIPS by Frans G. Bengtsson This WWII-published two-volume Swedish novel about the Viking Röde Orm came out in a marvelous English translation in 1954. Never out of print on either side of the pond, it’s a thrilling, humorous adventure saga about Orm’s voyages from Scandinavia to Western and Eastern Europe—a masterwork. Göran Buckhorn, Visitor Reception Center staff
by David Hackett Fischer
LYDIA BAILEY by Kenneth Roberts Known for his realistic and concisely descriptive details, Roberts is probably the best historical fiction writer I’ve ever read. Try this one: Lydia Bailey is a romance set in the Caribbean and North Africa. The story includes details about America’s early maritime history, including trade in the West Indies and the testing of the young American navy by Barbary pirates. Chris White, Collections Manager
Read it to discover the untold back story of a group of seafarers turned soldiers, whose skills and determination made Washington’s crossing succeed where most others gave up and turned back. These same seafarers who, at the Battle of Long Island, saved Washington and his army to fight another day, enabled him to take the fight to the enemy at Trenton. This book is great history, and it’s a sea story to boot! Doug Teeson, President and Director
nyone who doubts the beauty or role of the lowly tugboat will be pleasantly surprised by this handsome new book, which charts the development of the waterfront workhorse in New York City—from 1830s steamboats towing passenger barges up the Hudson to 20th-century diesel-powered harbor tugs escorting cruise ships and moving barges. Drawing on a range of historical sources, the author argues convincingly that the towing industry played a crucial role in building New York’s commercial stature. At first glance, it is the book’s illustrations that will keep you turning the pages. More than 100 large-format images accompany the text, from ships’ plans to charts. The real jewels are the historical black-and-white photographs; early views show city wharves crowded with tugboats, schooners and canal boats, while detailed 1940s photos by Berenice Abbott, Gordon Parks and Harold Corsini capture the work rhythms and off-duty hours of tug crews. 25 This balancing of the personal and the panoramic is perhaps the book’s greatest strength and carries through the text as well. Author George Matteson, a 20-year tug veteran and former waterfront director at South Street Seaport, effortlessly moves between a discussion of the technical (innovations in propulsion) to the social (the Irish immigrants who controlled the waterfront in the late 1800s and gave rise to the Moran and McAllister companies) and the political (the impact of the 1988 tug strike/lockout on the unions). He opens and closes the book with poignant stories about his own tug experiences. The illustrations, text and personal anecdotes combine to create an engagingly textured work. Matteson’s book would make a welcome winter addition to any maritime library—whether owned by a New York City devotee, a photography fan or a tug enthusiast. Elysa Engelman, Ph.D., is the Museum’s exhibit developer and researcher. She also is co-coordinator of the Museum’s informal lunchtime forum about books, research and history.
Plum Pudding, Mincemeat and Turkey HOLIDAYS OF THE PAST AT SEA AND ASHORE
ankees don’t keep Christmas,
and ship masters at sea never know when Thanksgiving comes so Jack has no festival at all,” wrote Richard Henry Dana in 1831, in Two Years Before the Mast. This dreary situation was on the verge of change even as Dana penned these words. Merely eight years before, Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem entitled “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and in the following decade Godey’s Lady’s Book editor Sarah Josepha Hale began her campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday celebrated reliably on the last Thursday of the month.
Most Yankees did not celebrate Christmas in the early 1800s. A holdover from the Puritan days when extravagant and biblically non-warranted holiday observance was eschewed, Christmas was kept in New England only by Catholics and Episcopalians and by the descendants of the Dutch in nearby New York. New Englanders who were not at all averse to having a good time did, however, enthusiastically celebrate Thanksgiving as they had for over a century already, particularly Connecticut people, who had the most consistent record of declaring an annual autumnal harvest festival. During most of the 1700s, Thanksgiving floated from late November to early December, usually held on a Thursday, declared
annually perhaps as early as a month in advance by each state governor independent of the others. That was why Dana wrote that ship masters at sea, coping with delayed news, never knew when the holiday was declared. Early New Englanders might hear that a colony or state
association with the Pilgrims, who were presumed to be the holidayâ€™s founders. Turkeys abounded in early New England, but were quickly hunted off, and domesticated versions were subsequently brought in and raised in New England barnyards. To feed a large gathering, though, the housewife needed more than turkey, so roasts of pork, large chicken pies and other meat, together with dishes of stuffing and gravies, were added to the menu. Seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and squash were served and pickles from summer gardens accompanied them. In addition to apple and pumpkin pies, cooks set out plum pudding full of raisins and currants, fragrant with spices and brandy and unctuous with suet. Children growing up in the first half of the 19th century recalled helping with the making of mincemeat pie similarly rich in dried fruit, apples, meat and suet. They pounded and sifted spices, picked the seeds out of raisins and helped with all the chopping. Ironically, mincemeat and plum pudding had such strong associations with Christmas that to make such dishes close to December 25 pointed to an intention to celebrate the holiday. It was one thing for Puritans to give up Christmas, entirely another to give up plum pudding and mincemeat pie. Both were cheerfully incorporated into the Thanksgiving meal.
members scattered into other towns and districts and even across the country who often took advantage of the holiday to gather for a family reunion. In the course of determining the ideal holiday meal, New Englanders who could afford to do so turned to the most festive
gentry, was more costly than other fowl, and so was an ideal festive food. By the middle of the 1800s, it also acquired a romanticized
governor had designated a day dedicated to thanksgiving and prayer for the successful outcome of a battle or the end of some affliction, like a drought. The major Thanksgiving, the one with the capital T, was always in the fall after harvest and featured a festive meal. The â€œlittle tâ€? thanksgivings are often proferred today as evidence that the first Thanksgiving was held someplace else besides Plymouth Colony in 1621. In fact, the 1621 event was not described by the Pilgrims as their first Thanksgiving. They merely set a time to have a traditional harvest festival such as they had known in England to express their gratitude for a decent harvest. Later historians dubbed that particular feast the first Thanksgiving. In the 1700s and early 1800s, families attended church and ate a large meal. Days were dedicated for the making of pies and puddings, the butchering of turkeys, chickens and pigs, and baking of bread, preparing of vegetables and other arrangements culinary and domestic. Women cleaned houses and set extra tables in anticipation of company. By that time, many families had
menus they could summon up. Plenty and variety were the goals, and tradition was evoked. Dinner included roasted meats, rich puddings and pies and an array of side dishes. By the 1700s, turkey had become a high-status meat among the
ver the course of the 1800s, turkey became indispensable
to the Thanksgiving meal, and Mrs. Hale’s campaign was so successful
that President Lincoln finally declared the holiday a national one in 1863. Thereafter, Yankee and all other ship masters had no excuse, except perhaps adverse weather, for not observing the holiday. The holiday was passed over aboard the Mary & Helen in 1881, according to Irving Reynolds, who recorded in his journal that the ship had spent the day fighting a gale, and in the margin of the barkentine Good News’ 1894 log were penned the poignant words “Thanksgiving Day & no turkey.” Other seafarers might lack turkey but put some effort into a special meal. Irving Reynolds recorded in 1879 another shipboard Thanksgiving celebrated with a dinner of roast beef, green peas, potatoes, apple pie and raisins. With reunion such an important part of the holiday, seafarers at sea and their families ashore thought about one another. Sailors wrote in their journals that they were thinking of home, and wondered if anyone was thinking of them. Victorian New Englanders were a good deal fuzzier on the details of celebrating Christmas. Moore’s poem spoke of gift-filled stockings, which were substituted for Dutch shoes on St. Nicholas’ Day, December 6. Christmas trees were promoted when Queen Victoria was pictured in American periodicals with her tree, a German custom brought to England when she married Prince Albert. Many New Englanders were already in the habit of visiting and exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day. The Dutch offered New Year’s visitors platters of small cakes and cookies. German settlers everywhere baked large batches of holiday cookies. New Englanders ultimately cobbled together their Christmas holiday traditions by borrowing freely from observances among their neighbors. At first, the holiday was more or less confined to the Sunday school, where a pageant told the Christmas story and a Christmas tree might be erected. Boxes of candy were handed out to the children together with an orange. But it was too good a commercial opportunity for merchants and storekeepers to ignore, and Yankees were quickly educated in Christmas celebration via commerce and popular publications.
SANDRA OLIVER FOUNDED THE OPEN-HEARTH COOKING PROGRAM AT MYSTIC SEAPORT IN 1971. TODAY SHE IS THE EDITOR OF FOOD HISTORY NEWS AND THE AUTHOR OF SALTWATER FOODWAYS, AN EXCEPTIONAL VOLUME OF REGIONAL FOOD HISTORY PUBLISHED BY MYSTIC SEAPORT.
like the Cratchits, or upon reading Washington Irving’s Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., decide to offer a boar’s head. There is little evidence of either. After all, what better menu to have than the most festive one they already knew? Most people repeated some version of Thanksgiving’s meal, complete with turkey and mincemeat pie. As Christmas ashore was more commonly observed, Yankee captains were more likely to make provisions for the holiday even if it were only plum duff, a boiled pudding with raisins served with molasses for sauce, for the fo’c’sle. For the after guard, who always fared better than the men before the mast, a nice meal was in order, such as the one aboard the Ohio in 1876 consisting of roast chicken, stewed apple, pickled pears and apples, and sweet and Irish potatoes. Christmas dinner aboard the packet ship Frederick Gebhard in 1858 offered chicken, beef, pork, codfish, onions, green corn and beans, boiled tongues, pickles, pickled beets, bread and butter, whortleberry pie and whiskey. By the end of the 1800s, Thanksgiving was still the premier New England holiday, but Christmas was catching up. At sea in the 20th century, holiday celebrations were helped along by the increased use of artificial refrigeration and wider array of frozen products. Ashore, holiday dinners struggled through the rationing of two world wars and, for many, Depressionera privation, but came out intact with turkey and pumpkin pies still the norm. In our time, Thanksgiving is still the one holiday for which families make an effort to gather and feast, even though it looks more and more like the prelude to the Christmas shopping season than a dignified old celebration with the longest historical roots of any in the nation. Christmas dinner itself may be hard to find under the piles of wrapping paper and ribbon, but when else can you find plum puddings for sale in the grocery store?
or Christmas dinner, some followed the English lead with roast beef. We might think others, possibly influenced by Charles Dickens’ popular A Christmas Carol, would serve goose and plum pudding
W H AT ’ S H A P P E N I N G AT M Y S T I C S E A P O R T
THROUGH DECEMBER 30
The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport hosts its Winter/Holiday Exhibition. For more information and hours, call 860.572.5388.
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Varnishing Techniques for Traditional Boats A full-day finishing class focuses on the art of varnishing a boat.
DECEMBER 7-10, 11-17, 20-25
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Traditional Boat Building Gain hands-on experience in nearly every phase of construction of a traditional plan-on-frame, smooth or lapstrake-planked boat.
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: The Elements of Lofting Learn the process of lofting— the straightforward process of drawing a boat to full size for the purpose of making patterns and molds from which to build it.
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Kayak Paddle Making Use a few simple tools to make a lightweight, traditional Greenland kayak paddle.
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Introduction to Sparmaking – The Traditional Boathook Build an elegant, tapered mahogany-handled boathook, with a polished bronze end.
Lantern Light Tours Experience theatrical scenes of Christmas past with this popular yuletide activity. For tickets, call 888.973.2767.
John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Half-Model Construction Learn the basics of half-hull construction by carving your own model of a classic sailboat.
DECEMBER 15 AND 22
Lantern Light Tours: Family Nights These special tour nights feature live music, a chance to make your own ornament and a visit from St. Nick.
The 2006-2007 Adventure Series continues with David and Joyce Kay, avid scuba divers who travel to exotic places and photograph beautiful, seldom seen creatures at the bottom of the sea.
DECEMBER 12 The 2006-2007 Adventure Series continues with whale researcher Nan Hauser. Her primary research is conducted in the Cook Islands, South Pacific. For tickets, call 860.572.5339.
JANUARY 19–21 AND JANUARY 26–28 John Gardner Boat Shop Course: Greenland Kayak Boat Building Build your own kayak in this intensive six-day course.
Community Carol Sing Get into the holiday spirit with a traditional carol sing backed by brass quartet.
Mystic Seaport Cocktail Party at Christie’s A special preview to the New York auction house’s annual maritime sale. For more information, contact Sally Halsey at 860.572.0711 x5120.
FEBRUARY 15 The 2006-2007 Adventure Series continues with Dr. Milton Clark, world explorer from Antarctica to Africa, describing his latest trip to the Montagnards, the colorful mountain tribes of Northern Vietnam.
The 2006-2007 Adventure Series continues with Benjamin Mendlowitz, the international wooden boat photographer whose work has been featured in the world’s noted wooden boat publications. His work will be exhibited in the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in March.
For a complete list of events and programs, please visit www.mysticseaport.org. For more information about these programs, call 888.973.2767.
As a sailor out at sea for weeks and months at a time, one of the few events that changes your daily routine is the weather. Sailors of long ago developed a keen eye for observing changes in the ocean and the skies, and used those observations to predict the weather, along with a fair number of superstitions. Some of them actually had some scientific fact to back them up. For example, “Seagulls sitting in the sand, Always foul weather when you're at hand." This ditty referred to the fact that a drop in the barometer indicates thinner air, making it more difficult to fly. Here are a few more bits of sailors’ lore for predicting or causing a change in the weather. Do any of these work for you?
31 At sea, a mirage often is a sign of approaching rain. If the clouds are hanging low in the sky, it will probably rain.
If a goose honks high, it means fair weather.
A pig running with straw in its mouth indicates a big wind is coming.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. When there is moisture in the air, sound carries better. On dry days, sounds are not as clear. To invite a breeze to the ship’s sails, whistle a little song, but NEVER whistle while it is breezy, as it calls a storm to the ship! Old knee and elbow injuries can predict when wet weather is on the way. Ask your grown-ups how they can predict weather changes just by looking at their environment. Try drawing weather, weather changes or weather predictors. HOW MANY ILLUSTRATIONS OF WEATHER PREDICTORS CAN YOU INCLUDE IN ONE DRAWING?
A bright yellow sky at sunset indicates wind.
Unusually colored clouds with hard outlines means rain and wind are approaching.
To bring a wind to the ship’s sails, trim your nails or your hair.
BY THE NUMBERS
HpLIDAY D E C O R AT I O N S at Mystic Seaport Decade in which the Museum began putting up a holiday tree: 1960s Year in which the Museum began adorning the entire campus with historically appropriate decorations: 1984 Number of handmade wreaths hung around the Museum each year: 156 Number of themes used for wreaths: 8 (shells, cones, ropeworks, berries, sea stars, children’s toys, waxed beans, ribbon) In feet, length of garland hung: 1,060 In feet, length of handmade garland: 635 Number of sprays: 46 Different types of greens used in decorations: 27 Number of bows created each year: 216 Number of hot-glue sticks used to create handmade decorations: 20 Types of hand cream to soothe decorator’s hands used during decoration creation: 3 Number of buildings adorned with decorations: 78 Employee hours spent creating decorations: 233 Volunteer hours spent creating decorations: 224 Length, in days, of the Museum’s holiday season: 35 In 2005, number of Museum visitors during that season: 15,403
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A gift to Mystic Seaport’s Annual Fund protects our irreplaceable collection of ships, boats, photographs and maritime artifacts, and preserves our priceless historical legacy. This year, all new and increased gifts made to the 2006-07 Annual Fund by December 31, 2006 will be matched dollar for dollar!
2006-07 A NNUAL F UND , PLEASE CALL 860.572.5365. Y OU 2006-07 A NNUAL F UND , O FFICE OF I NSTITUTIONAL A DVANCEMENT, M YSTIC S EAPORT, 75 G REENMANVILLE AVENUE , M YSTIC , CT 06355. T HANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING M YSTIC S EAPORT. W E COULDN ’ T DO IT WITHOUT YOU ! MAKE A GIFT TO THE
CAN ALSO SEND YOUR GIFT TO
It’s Dinner & Dance night at Seamen’s Inne. The first Thursday of each month join us at Seamen’s Inne for professional swing dance & instruction for the Lindy Hop from 6-9 pm. Admission for dance and instruction is just $5. The full dinner menu will be available. For information or reservations, call 860.572.5303. EXIT 90 IN MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT
75 Greenmanville Avenue PO Box 6000 Mystic, Connecticut 06355-0990 Dated Material Do not hold
Nonprofit U.S. Postage PAID Permit #119 Deep River, CT
Mystic Seaport Magazine Winter 2006 issue filled with information about the museum events, activities, programs and classes.
Published on May 18, 2009
Mystic Seaport Magazine Winter 2006 issue filled with information about the museum events, activities, programs and classes.