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Mystic Seaport

Street in Mystic Seaport, masts of Charles W. Morgan in background

Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum in Mystic, Connecticut. It is notable both for its collection of sailing ships and boats, and for the preservation of an entire 19th century seaport, consisting of over 60 original buildings on a 37-acre site.

The museum was established in 1929 as the "Marine Historical Association". Its first fame came with the acquisition of the Charles W. Morgan in 1941, the only surviving wooden sailing whaler. The seaport now sees about 400,000 visitors each year. In addition, it supports research via an extensive library, runs a graduate-level academic program, and, in conjunction with Williams College, an undergraduate program in maritime studies.

Several of the vessels are the unique survivors of their type in the world. The collection includes:

The buildings of the museum include nearly all the types of general and specialized trades associated with building and operating a sailing fleet. They include a chandlery, sail loft, ropewalk, cooperage, and others. Each building is used both to show the activity for which it was used, and multiple display examples of the objects sold or constructed; for instance the nautical instruments shop displays sextants and the like.

Additional buildings house more exhibits. One intriguing exhibit is a 1/128th scale model of the entire Mystic River area ca. 1870, complete down to the outhouse behind every residence; a modelling tour de force over 50 ft (15 m) long.


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