Next May, two of the most famous and iconic ships in America will link arms and sail into Boston Harbor together – the Mayflower II and USS Constitution will proceed to the Navy Yard next year for a five-day maritime celebration.
The Mayflower Sails 2020 organization came to the Navy Yard Monday to announce that the newly-restored Mayflower will celebrate its renovation and the 400th year of the Pilgrims’ voyage in Charlestown Navy Yard.
“Can you imagine the nation’s two most historic and iconic ships sailing together for the first time right into the Charlestown Navy Yard?” asked Stephen Brodeur, Mayflower Sails 2020 Chair and Founding Sponsor. “It’s going to be fantastic.”
Mayflower Sails 2020 announced the free maritime festival where the Mayflower will come to Boston for the first time since its restoration will take place next spring, May 14 through 19, 2020, in the Charlestown Navy Yard. History will come to life on board the ship and in the park to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ historic 1620 voyage.
This inclusive and accessible event makes history engaging and brings it to life by offering a variety of programming for visitors of all ages. Mayflower will sail to Boston from Connecticut where the ship’s owner, Plimoth Plantation, has been restoring her at Mystic Seaport Museum so that the public will have the chance to board the ship for free and learn about the historic event that was the cornerstone for what would become the United States of America. Plimoth Plantation’s living history educators will offer a glimpse into life aboard the ship and staff from the Museum’s Indigenous program will present engaging programming for the public throughout the event.
Mayor Martin Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker were also on hand to make the announcement, as well as Michael Creasey, superintendent of the National Parks of Boston.
“Mayflower Sails 2020 will provide important access to this historic ship as it debuts after its restoration, part of the Commonwealth’s efforts throughout 2020 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival,” said Baker. “We are honored that the restored Mayflower will then remain open to the public in Plymouth Harbor under the continued stewardship of Plimoth Plantation.”
Said Walsh, “The City of Boston is excited to welcome the Mayflower to our harbor in 2020. This festival is a great way to kick off a decade marking Massachusetts’ contributions to American history leading up to the 400th anniversary of Boston in 2030. We hope that families from far and wide will visit us for this educational, cultural and entertaining experience in the Charlestown Navy Yard.”
The original Mayflower sailed back to England in April of 1621, where it was later sold in ruins. The second Mayflower, which is the ship that will sail to Boston next year, was designed by MIT-trained naval architect William Avery Baker for Plimoth Plantation. The ship is a full-scale reproduction of the one the Pilgrims sailed and was built in the mid-1950s in Brixham, England, intended to be a gift to the people of America from the people of England in honor of the friendships formed during World War II. Since her arrival in 1957, Mayflower has been an educational exhibit of Plimoth Plantation and will return to her berth in historic Plymouth Harbor after the Mayflower Sails 2020 event.
Mayflower Sails 2020 will provide family-friendly programming and entertainment throughout the six days it is celebrated in Charlestown Navy Yard, including:
•Tours of the ship
•Live music, including a special Rock the Dock concert
•Education for schools and nonprofits
•Food and beverages for purchase, including food trucks and a beer garden
Additional events and more details will be announced over the course of the coming months. The event is free, but ticketed and tickets will be available in early 2020.