I don’t have any pictures of all the work we did today, but rest assured, we did a lot. Instead I have been thinking about what I did this past weekend and how it is connected to Mayflower II and our museum in general. I’ll offer some Internet links that are relevant and are connections themselves to further information.
On Saturday I spoke at the Massachusetts Mayflower society’s annual meeting. They met at the Dedham Polo and country club. A lovely place with very helpful staff although I did not see any polo ponies. The Mayflower society invited me to speak about the origins of Mayflower II, a story, with which I am very familiar. They let me bring some Felix books, (get your first addition copy soon, they’ll be gone before you know it) which sold very well.
It is always interesting to me to speak with members of this organization. They take great pride and show tremendous interest in their ancestors. They know who married who in their families all the way back to the Mayflower and often further back. They have documentation to show, if necessary, that they are descended from a very small group of Englishmen who came to these shores nearly four hundred years ago.
I know my parents, knew my grand parents and remember vaguely a great grandmother who died when I was very young. Mayflower society members have looked closely at their long family histories to help define who they are. I’m still trying to figure that out for myself.
That Saturday night Sue and I continued on to a book launch at the Portland, Maine Museum of Art. Some friends of ours took about ten years to build a boat, three years to sail it around the world and three more years to write a book about their experiences. The voyage was a boyhood dream of my friend Phil and with his wife Amy they set out to explore the world, in part to see what was “out there”, in part live out a dream and maybe figure out how they fit into he whole scheme of things. One thing they discovered is that while they have circumnavigated the globe they are definitely not blue water sailors. The found the long open water crossings either tedious, nerve wracking or sometimes downright frightening. They searched the world over looking outward for the kinds of things Mayflower society members look in to find; who are we and how do we fit into the long narrative of history.
Part of our job at Plimoth Plantation is to provide historic context for our visitors. We exhibit all sorts of trades, crafts, and cultures in the hope that visitors will see something they can use to make sense out of their lives, place their experiences in a context of large historic events and maybe learn to look, in at themselves, and out at the world to see how we all matter and sail in the flow of history.