Academic journal article The Historian

Mystic Seaport Museum

Academic journal article The Historian

Mystic Seaport Museum

Article excerpt

Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut, originally founded as the Marine Historical Association in 1929, is committed to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the artifacts, traditions, and skills of U.S. maritime history. Mystic, which began building ships in the 1600s, was one of the smallest seaports in early America, but for many years surpassed its shipbuilding counterparts in tonnage of ships. Between 1851 and 1859, 21 dipper ships were launched, including the record-breaking dipper, David Crockett, which made 25 voyages around Cape Horn to and from San Francisco. During the Civil War, 56 steamers left Mystic's shores. Shipbuilding continued to be the major industry on the Mystic River until the early 1870s but declined thereafter until the end of the century Mystic was also the home of successful merchants, as well as fishing and whaling captains.(1)

In 1931, in addition to acquiring its first vessel, the Marine Historical Association was deeded the Mystic Manufacturing Company, comprising two acres and seven buildings, which had once been a flourishing shipyard. Today, visitors to Mystic's indoor and outdoor museum may walk along 17 acres, visit 41 exhibit buildings, and see four large vessels and displays featuring some of the museum's more than 400 small watercraft, the largest such collection in the United States and one of the largest in the world. …

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