Mayflower II Set for Restoration

Courtesy of Plimouth Plantation

Courtesy of Plimoth Plantation

PLYMOUTH – The state has allocated $2 million for a restoration of the Mayflower II.

The iconic ship is a centerpiece exhibit along with the Plimoth Plantation displays that tell the story of the Pilgrims and the United States’ early Colonial history.

The money is set forth in the 2015 state budget signed last week.

A significant restoration is planned, including replacing planks and framing.

The work is scheduled to be complete by 2020 which is the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Funding will be used to complete an extensive round of repairs and restoration including replacing several planks, frames, and knees sourced from rare white oak. Further plans are to rebuild the topside half-deck, repair the transom, poop deck, and starboard half-deck.

Gangway improvements, hemp-line rigging, sail replacement and new paint are also planned.

Mayflower II was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of England in appreciation of America’s assistance during World War II.

In a message of goodwill read at Mayflower II‘s launch in September of 1956, then Governor of Massachusetts Christian A. Herter wrote, “I am stirred by the spirit of goodwill that prompted your people to give so generously to a craft that will soon sail far away. Godspeed your valiant ship to our shores. We shall take loving care of it, and treasure it always as a living monument of friendship between our nations.”

The ship set sail from Plymouth, England on April 20, 1957 with a crew of 33 men.

Arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts 55 days later, she was greeted by large crowds and celebrations including tributes by then-Vice President Richard Nixon and then-Senator John F. Kennedy.

Mayflower II‘s journey was chronicled by some of the era’s leading publications, including Life Magazine, National Geographic, and was prominently reported by the international news media. Since then, the ship has been a beloved fixture on Plymouth’s historic waterfront, and an anchor for the town and region’s robust tourism economy.

“”Not only does Mayflower II tell the remarkable story of the Pilgrims’ voyage, but she is a living memorial to our WWII veterans and a tangible symbol of the special relationship that exists between the US and the UK,” Ellie Donovan, executive director of the Plimoth Plantation, said. “We are grateful to our legislators, in particularl Senate President Murray and Representative DeMacedo, for recognizing the need to restore this iconic and irreplaceable national treasure.”

Mayflower II is a symbol of our nation’s earliest beginnings and represents the historic significance of the Pilgrims,” Senate President Therese Murray said. “She continues to serve as one of Plymouth’s top attractions and it is important that Mayflower II be fully restored before Plymouth’s 400th anniversary in 2020. This will be an unforgettable celebration that will draw millions of visitors to America’s hometown, supporting our growing economy and showcasing the commonwealth to the world.”

Plimoth Plantation officials, in a prepared statement, wrote that they hope that the state’s funding will bring further attention to Mayflower II‘s unique and important role in American history and act as a catalyst for additional support for the ship’s educational mission and continued care.

Efforts are underway to fully fund the ship’s ongoing maintenance for decades to come, according to Plimoth Plantation officials
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