Monday, November 23, 2009

First Thanksgiving: Voyage of Mayflower II

The Mayflower, the little ship of the Pilgrims, took over two months to reach New England from Old England. It stayed in the new world over the winter, and departed for England the next year, where disappeared from ships registries, possibly being broken up for lumber and incorporated into an English barn. At that time there was no interest in having the ship preserved. The Pilgrims had left as political refugees, and in England there was little interest in the Pilgrims' story.

In 1951, Plimouth Plantation, a museum of Pilgrim life in Plymouth, Massachusetts, commissioned MIT naval architect, William A. Baker, to design a ship which would replicate as closely as possible the little Mayflower in which the Pilgrims journeyed to America. Following World War II, a separate English group decided a new Mayflower should be built in gratitude for the Americans' help in World War II. Eventually the two groups put their resources together, and on September 22, 1957, Mayflower II was launched. On April 20, 1957, the Mayflower replica set out for America, where today it is docked in Plymouth Harbor and open for visitors. This newsreel, from over 50 years ago, tells the story.


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