As a child, I spent a lot of time at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Conn. As I discuss in The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, it was among my father’s favorite maritime museums, and we often stopped there as part our summer vacation. Before he got into nautical archaeology, my father’s dream was to volunteer at the museum once he retired.
Among other things, the museum housed the ship model collection of Charles G. Davis, whose books on built-up ship modeling techniques inspired my father’s own early work with models.
My dad also used to take pictures of the rigging of old sailing ships, and he probably photographed the rigging of the Charles W. Morgan more than any other ship. The Charles W. Morgan is the museum’s showcase and the oldest whaling ship still in existence. As a child, I spent hours running around her decks.
She was towed into Mystic in 1941, and she’s basically been there ever since. This summer, however, the Charles W. Morgan will set sail for the first time in more than 90 years. Fresh off a five-year renovation program, the museum is sending the her on a victory lap, of sorts that will take her to her former home port of New Bedford, Mass., as well as Boston, where she’ll be berthed next to the U.S.S. Constitution.