Our friends at Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, MA have announced its historic tall ship Mayflower II as a recipient of the 2021 Paul & Niki Tsongas Award by Preservation Massachusetts, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage. Since 1988, the Tsongas Award has recognized the people and projects that have displayed the highest level of commitment to historic preservation in the Commonwealth.
The accolade highlights Plimoth Patuxet’s successful four-year, multi-million-dollar restoration of the iconic reproduction of the ship that in 1620 carried the Pilgrims to the land known to Indigenous people as Patuxet and to the English as Plymouth.
“Mayflower II is an irreplaceable cultural asset and an economic anchor in Massachusetts’ vital tourism industry,” said Ellie Donovan, Executive Director of Plimoth Patuxet Museums. “We are grateful to Preservation Massachusetts for recognizing our efforts to ensure that Mayflower II will continue to educate and inspire future generations about our Nation’s founding story.”
The ship also garnered more than 27,000 votes to win the People’s Preservation Choice Award as part of this year’s Preservation Massachusetts awards celebration.
“People from all walks of life feel a sense of connection to Mayflower II and the stories of perseverance she embodies,” said Whit Perry, Plimoth Patuxet’s Director of Maritime Preservation and Operations. “We deeply appreciate the support of our friends around the world who chose Mayflower as their favorite from among several outstanding preservation projects.”
Built in Brixham, Devon, England from 1955 to ‘57, Mayflower II memorializes renewed international alliances during World War II. The reproduction vessel arrived to Plymouth under sail on June 13, 1957 to great fanfare and 25,000 spectators. Under Plimoth Patuxet’s stewardship, millions of visitors have crossed her decks to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey.
Despite routine maintenance, the ship succumbed to the deterioration over the course of 60 years. In 2015, Plimoth Patuxet embarked on a collaboration with Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT to stabilize the ship and make her seaworthy once again. Skilled shipwrights and artisans from Mystic and Plimoth Patuxet fully restored the ship according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation. Nearly 70% of the timbers, planking, structural frames, knees, and beams were replaced, using six types of wood from eight states and as far away as Denmark.
Fundraising continues to cover the cost of Mayflower II’s restoration, with $1.8 million still to raise. Plimoth Patuxet aims to exceed that goal and establish a fund for future maintenance. To donate, visit plimoth.givingfuel.com/mayflower-restoration-fund. ■
Receives Paul & Niki Tsongas Award