PLYMOUTH, Mass., Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Plimoth Plantation, the acclaimed living history museum of 17th-century Colonial and Native New England, today announced a global Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $250,000 to support the restoration of Mayflower II, the only full-scale reproduction of the ship that brought the Pilgrims across the Atlantic in 1620.
The Museum's "Float The Boat: Save Mayflower II!" campaign launched on October 3 at www.SaveMayflower.org and concludes on November 17, 2016. Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding platform that helps creative projects come to life, is "all-or-nothing"; a minimum of $250,000 must be pledged in order for Plimoth Plantation to receive the needed funds.
"We are thrilled to reach global audiences with Mayflower II's story through the powerful Kickstarter platform," said Plimoth Plantation's Development Director Courtney Roy-Branigan. "In the spirit that Mayflower II is 'everybody's ship," supporters will have the chance to be a part of preserving one of America's national treasures."
Based on plans by renowned naval architect William Avery Baker of MIT, Mayflower II was a gift from the English people to commemorate the United States' alliance with Britain during World War II. Constructed in Brixham, England using traditional methods and materials and sailed across the Atlantic in 1957, the ship has delighted millions of school children and countless visitors from around the world for over 60 years as a floating classroom and symbol of freedom.
Fundraising for the restoration of Mayflower II is a current priority for Plimoth Plantation, whose mission is to tell the rich and interwoven stories of the Plymouth colonists and Native peoples of the region through research, experimental archaeology, and engaging living history programs on its main campus and at the Mayflower II exhibit on the Plymouth, Massachusetts waterfront.
In total, the Mayflower II restoration project requires $12 million, which includes a reserve fund for future maintenance. Of this, $7.5 million is needed before the end of the 2016 in order to proceed with the major phase of restoration; more than $4.5 million has been raised to date from a combination of private donors, corporate sponsors, and government agencies.
The $250,000 the Museum aims to raise via its Kickstarter campaign will cover a portion of the costs of labor and materials needed for the restoration.
A comprehensive marine survey completed in 2014 by Captain Paul Haley of Captain G.W. Full & Associates — the same firm that surveyed several vintage vessels including the Mystic Seaport flagship Charles W. Morgan, the USS Constitution, the USS Constellation, and many additional projects within the tall ship community — concluded that while Mayflower II has lasted for 60 years thanks to Plimoth Plantation's attentive maintenance, the time has come for a major rebuild.
Since 2014, Plimoth Plantation has collaborated with shipwrights at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, the nation's leading maritime museum, on stabilization efforts that have enabled Mayflower II to remain at her berth as one of the Museum's primary exhibits.
In November 2016, accompanied by a crew of eight from Plimoth Plantation's Maritime Preservation department, the 106-foot vessel will depart Plymouth Harbor for Mystic, Connecticut, towed by the tugboat Jaguar (operated by Mitchell Towing of Fairhaven, Massachusetts).
Together, skilled shipwrights at Mystic Seaport's Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard will work alongside Plimoth Plantation's maritime artisans to restore the ship according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects. The project will take approximately 30 months, with Mayflower II expected to return to Plymouth in 2019 fully restored and able to sail once again. Vital to this effort is a plan to systematically replace timbers, planking, structural frames, knees and beams that, despite excellent care, have succumbed to the natural deterioration process expected of any organic material exposed to natural elements over the course of 60 years.
About Mayflower II
Since 1957, an estimated 20 million people have stepped aboard Mayflower II and imagined the Pilgrims' experience on their historic crossing. Today, visitors to the ship sense the perils and methods of maritime travel of the time, observe the tools of 17th century navigation, and are reminded of their own ancestors who may have made similar voyages to the United States.
Over the course of nearly six decades, Mayflower II has attracted the attention of major media beginning with LIFE and Time Magazine trumpeting its inaugural voyage from England to the United States. More recently, the ship was featured in Ric Burns' PBS American Experience documentary The Pilgrims — the last time she was under sail.
Today, at her berth at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, the ship is an economic anchor for the Town of Plymouth and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is expected to be a focal point of the upcoming 400th commemoration of the Pilgrims' arrival to New England's shores.
For preservation updates and more information about how helping Mayflower II sail into the future, please visit plimoth.org/SOS.
About Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation is the living museum of the United States' foundation in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts. Located less than an hour's drive south of Boston, and 15 minutes north of Cape Cod, the Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week, from mid-March through the end of November. A private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution, the Museum is supported by admission fees, contributions, memberships, and revenue from a variety of dining programs/special events and gift shops. Plimoth Plantation is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. For more information, visit www.plimoth.org.
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SOURCE Plimoth Plantation