Mayflower Restoration Project
Under the exceptional leadership of Whit Perry, Director of Maritime Preservation and Operations for Plimoth Plantation, the restoration is on schedule to be completed in 2019, in time for MAYFLOWER to make a triumphant return as the centerpiece of the celebrations and commemorations that will mark the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s arrival on New England’s shores. Over the past three years, Perry’s team of Maritime Artisans has been working alongside shipwrights, riggers, caulkers, and painters at Mystic Seaport Museum – a crew of nearly 30 – making steady progress on a project that will replace 70 – 75% of the ship. One of the highlights of the collaboration between our two museums has been the knowledge exchange among those tasked with making MAYFLOWER shipshape.
On a crisp October day, Plimoth Plantation’s Pilgrim Shallop II embarked upon its own restoration journey to another mission-driven organization on Boston’s North Shore – Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Built in 1957 at Plymouth Marine Railways, Inc., the William Avery Baker-designed boat functioned as a tender of sorts for MAYFLOWER. She ferried Captain Alan Villiers and the ship’s crew to the shore after their arrival from England in June 1957, and could be either rowed or sailed. While the shallop has received regular maintenance over the years, she is 62 years old and, like MAYFLOWER, suffers the effects of time, and exposure to the elements.
Established in 1793 on the banks of the Merrimack River, Lowell’s Boat Shop is the oldest operating boat shop in America. Today, it also preserves the maritime history of the area through museum exhibits, events, and education. Lowell’s, which specializes in custom-built dories and skiffs, is excited to take on the restoration of the shallop. Among the highlights of this partnership is an educational opportunity for students learning about boatbuilding to work on the restoration alongside experienced boatbuilders to learn the art and skills of the craft.