Plimoth Patuxet curates and maintains important archaeological and material culture collections related to pre- and post-contact Wampanoag Patuxet and Plymouth Colony. These collections inform and support the interpretation on our living history sites and inform historical and archaeological research.

Archaeological Collections

Brewer Pot resize

Plimoth Patuxet maintains one of the most significant repositories of archaeological material from 17th-century New England. The Museum houses the artifacts and field data from nine colonial-period sites as well as Indigenous materials collected by the museum’s founder Henry Hornblower II, his mentor Jesse Brewer, and additional archaeologists from southeastern Massachusetts. Archaeologists use these collections to research the pre-contact Wampanoag world and the development of Plymouth Colony.

17th-Century Decorative Arts & Material Culture

Merchant Ship Tile

The Museum collects and preserves examples of original 17th-century objects and art. These include objects related to food and dining, tools, armaments and armor, furniture, embroidered samplers, paintings, and engravings. These items are used by the museum’s artisans in the recreation and reproduction of 17th-century material culture for our interpretive sites and our gift shops.

Mayflower II Collection and Archives

Mayflower II Crew Hauling Lines

When Mayflower II arrived in America after a 55-day transatlantic voyage in June 1957, thousands waited to greet her on Plymouth's shores. Designed by renowned naval architect William A. Baker, constructed using only traditional techniques at J.W. & A. Upham Shipyard in Devon, UK, and captained by tall ship veteran Alan Villiers, Mayflower II sailed across the Atlantic powered only by the wind in her sails. At almost 65 years old, it is a rare survivor of the golden age of reproduction shipbuilding. In 2020, Mayflower II was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The recreation and sailing of Mayflower in 1957 was well documented both by the craftspeople involved, the crew, and the media. Plimoth Patuxet maintains a collection of navigation equipment from the 1957 sail, costumes worn by the crew members, and commemorative materials related to the 1957 sail. In addition, the Mayflower II archive contains documents, news articles, photographs, charts, and blueprints related to Mayflower II, it’s construction and sailing.

Pilgrim Memorabilia Collection

Pilgrim memorbalia

In addition to 17th-century materials, the Museum collects objects related to America’s relationship to the Plymouth story over the last 400 years. This collection includes documents and photographs related to commemorative events, media produced about Plymouth Colony, decorative and child-related items, and materials relating to the evolution of Thanksgiving as an American holiday.

Explore the Collections

Embroidered jacket

Did you know that Plimoth Patuxet Museums cares for over 400,000 objects within its collections? We have a made a number of these important objects accessible online.

Explore Plimoth Patuxet Museums' Collections

Donating Materials to Plimoth Patuxet’s Collections

Yellow jar artifact

The museum is honored that you would consider donating items to further our educational and collections mission. All offers of objects and documents are evaluated by the Collections Committee and Board of Trustees with the provision of a photograph and information about the item’s provenance.

At this time, the museum is only acquiring items that enhance our 17th-Century Originals Collection. For those wishing to donate materials for the 17th-Century Originals Collection, please also include an assessment by a professional appraiser with experience in appraising 17th-century materials. Plimoth Patuxet Museums is unable to provide monetary valuations or identification information of any materials.

Please make all inquiries about collections donations to collections@plimoth.org or call (508) 746-1622 x 8379.