October 6, 2008
Mystic Seaport, located in Mystic, CT, is a living museum. I wrote about Upper Canada Village before, so you should be familiar with the concept. What sets Mystic apart is it’s size and the huge amount of wooden ships, either in the water and still functional or as a museum piece in one of the many showrooms. Mystic does not have actors which are dressed historically correct, which is understandable as you can see civilization across the river and it wouldn’t really work in my opinion. Instead they have different demonstrations every half hour (we saw “Help set a sail” and “Fish split”) at different locations throughout the village. The village also has many more buildings, almost all of them in active use, and the buildings are spread over a smaller area, so you don’t have to walk quite as much. I said “active” buildings because there is a lot going on at Mystic Seaport, like sailing classes and also a cooperation with a university where students spend a whole semester at the port and learn different skills in the field of “Maritime studies” (also they have a blacksmith where people still actually learn how to do that, for a living). The dock at the west end of the village lifts huge ships out of the water so they can be repaired and restored. So you can imagine how all of that would be kind of hard to hide would you intend to do so ;)
Katrin and I spent almost 4 hours there (and skipped the last 5 buildings, and of course read only a fraction of all the explanations), and it was well worth the admission. You can see that they keep improving the exhibitions, as they had (at least) two new exhibitions/buildings, (with state-of-the-art technology) since I was there last time.
We’re in Newport, RI, right now and don’t intend to do anything but read for the rest of the day since we’re pretty beat and still have a week left ;)