Contact: Adam Joseph
April 18, 2012
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington), and Stephen C. White, President of Mystic Seaport, joined other legislators and state officials early this afternoon to declare the 2013—2014 academic year to be the “Year of the Charles W. Morgan” in the State of Connecticut. A Gubernatorial Proclamation and Senate Resolution to that effect were presented at today’s ceremony.
The designation will afford students across the state a unique opportunity to learn about Connecticut history, the significance of the whaling industry, and the importance of the state’s maritime heritage.
“The Charles W. Morgan is a prime example of Connecticut’s rich cultural history,” said Governor Malloy. “When she sails to some of our country’s most historic ports, she will be a traveling ambassador from the State of Connecticut, one that speaks to our colonial roots and maritime tradition. We truly appreciate the tourism, economic development and educational opportunities the Charles W. Morgan will provide.”
“Long Island Sound is Connecticut’s defining geographical feature, and the sea has always been and will always be a core component of our state’s economy and culture. The ‘Year of the Charles W. Morgan’ will promote one of Connecticut’s great icons to residents and tourists alike, help to educate young people about our past, and prompt discussion of the future and what may be remembered of our own era," said Senator Maynard.
Mystic Seaport is currently restoring the Charles W. Morgan in the Museum shipyard in preparation for a 2014 voyage to multiple historic ports in New England. As part of this project, the Museum is developing educational resources and programs to be made available to Connecticut schools to use the Morgan as a tool to teach students about the state’s past.
Built and launched in New Bedford in 1841, the Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages covering the entire globe over a whaling career that lasted 80 years. A powerful draw for Connecticut’s tourism industry, more than 20 million people have walked the decks of the Charles W. Morgan since she arrived at the Museum.
The ship came to Mystic Seaport in 1941 and became the centerpiece of what has become the nation’s leading maritime museum. The Morgan is the oldest American commercial vessel still in existence and is a National Historic Landmark.
A VESSEL FOR EDUCATION
The “Year of the Charles W. Morgan” will feature an extensive series of learner-based programs and resources for teachers on a range of subject material, including but not limited to history. The story of whaling and the Morgan touches on themes of globalization, America’s economic and social history, science, and environmental conservation, among others. Mystic Seaport is working with educators, administrators, foundations, and students to craft programs for the year.
Some of the initiatives currently in development:
“We sincerely appreciate this gesture of support from the Governor, his administration, and state lawmakers. The ‘Year of the Charles W. Morgan’ will help us put together a multi-agency initiative to use the Morgan as a catalyst for increased tourism, economic development, and innovative educational programming,” said Stephen White, President of Mystic Seaport. He continued, “We want every child to have the chance to visit the Morgan. Unfortunately, in this day and age that is not feasible. However, through technology and special programs we can take the Morgan to every student in the state.”
“The restoration of this Connecticut treasure will play a critical role in teaching our past to a new generation of residents and visitors alike,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, Jr.
“The Morgan will provide an opportunity for hands-on, experiential, extended learning that takes students outside the classroom,” said Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer at the Connecticut State Department of Education.
“This is an essential part of our history as a state and nation. Captured in the vessel is a story of who we are as a people and who we aspire to be. It needs to be taught to our children so they can continue it,” said Deputy Commissioner Kip Bergstrom of the CT Office of Culture and Tourism.
“The Charles W. Morgan is living testament to the age when New England was to American oil production and market share—albeit in whale oil—what Texas is in today’s petroleum industry, and I’m delighted this seaworthy link to our rich maritime heritage will soon once again be an invaluable hands-on teaching tool of Connecticut’s history,” Senator Andrea L. Stillman (D-New London) said. “The upcoming tour of this ship to neighboring ports will provide a ‘not-to-be-missed opportunity’ for students throughout our region.”
AN UNPRECEDENTED VOYAGE
In the late spring of 2014, the Morgan will embark on a historic 38th Voyage to historic ports in New England. The journey will begin with several weeks in New London, where she will finalize her preparations and conduct sail training. This will also include events celebrating the city’s whaling heritage. At one time, New London was one of the top five whaling ports in the world and much of the economic development of Eastern Connecticut owes its start to the wealth brought home by the city’s whaleships.
The Morgan will then sail to Newport, New Bedford (where she was built and sailed from for much of her career), Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard, through the Cape Cod Canal on the centennial anniversary of its opening, Provincetown, which she will use as a base for day sails among the whales on Stellwagon Bank, and finally to Boston to join the USS Constitution.
Each port stop will have a series of public events and programs focusing on that particular city’s heritage. When she returns to Mystic Seaport in August, the Morgan will return to her berth at Chubb’s Wharf and resume her role as an exhibit and flagship of the Museum.
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Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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