News & Press

Plimoth Patuxet Museums Celebrates 75th Anniversary

America's acclaimed living history museum honors the past and looks toward a bright future.

Plimoth Patuxet Museums announced today a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary in 2022. The slate of initiatives planned for this milestone year honors the Museums' past and looks toward a bright future.

“Plimoth Patuxet is proud to be a top destination for visitors to Massachusetts. As a leading cultural institution for 75 years, the Museum has remained an engaging and enriching place for our local community as well as for visitors from around the U.S. and the world,” said Ellie Donovan, Executive Director, Plimoth Patuxet Museums. “This year, we’re delighted to celebrate 75 years of living history and look forward to the future of this great American history Museum.”

Plimoth Patuxet Museums’ story begins with visionary founder, Henry (Harry) Hornblower II (1917-1985). From an early age, Hornblower was fascinated by the story of the Pilgrims and the Indigenous Peoples of the Northeast and, inspired by the artifacts found on several archaeological digs, wanted to bring that history to life for others too. As a young man, it became his ambition to establish a living museum that would bring the remarkable story of Plymouth Colony to the world.

Hornblower imbued the Museum with his exacting criteria of excellence, wanting the research and educational work of the Museum to be an exciting, fulfilling, and challenging experience for the public and staff alike. He gave generously of himself, his time, and his love of scholarship to further the Museum’s highest ideals and make a contribution of enduring significance to the world’s understanding of a pivotal period in American history. Hornblower’s expansive and visionary approach to the early colonial period began with the 17th-Century English Village and Mayflower II, then led to the creation of a Native Studies program in the early seventies. Plimoth Patuxet's programs and exhibits are the expression of an educational organization that is interested in telling the stories of all the people who lived in Colonial Plymouth, or Patuxet (as it is called by Indigenous People) and committed to recovering and interpreting these historic voices so that visitors can experience more fully the complex and richly nuanced portrait of life in the 1600s.

Harry hornblower with 75 logo

Plimoth Patuxet Museums' Founder, Harry Hornblower II.

“I am pleased to extend my congratulations to Plimoth Patuxet Museums on the organization's 75th anniversary," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Plimoth Patuxet is a leading cultural and economic asset in the Commonwealth, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to learn about the history and heritage of our Commonwealth. We appreciate the important role the Museum plays in telling the story of the people and communities of Massachusetts."

Throughout its anniversary year, the Museum will offer special programs, activities, and events for its audiences. The Plimoth Patuxet Museums social media accounts will feature notable moments from the Museum’s history, and several publications will examine the Museum’s impact on 17th-century history and the field of historical archaeology.

“The Museum is poised for growth and innovation, including new infrastructure projects, expanded exhibits, a digital media production center, and enriching programs and experiences to continue to serve the public and fulfill our educational mission,” said Board Chair, Steve Brodeur.

For more information about Plimoth Patuxet Museums’ 75th anniversary programs and events, visit Plimoth Patuxet Museums can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – sharing archival information highlighting the Museum’s history and the many local, national, and international people who have made the first 75 years of Plimoth Patuxet Museums a success.

At Plimoth Patuxet Museums, guests can explore four historic, heritage sites. The 17th-Century English Village affords a glimpse into the worldview, faith, and lifeways of the Pilgrims. Mayflower II enables guests to imagine a harrowing transatlantic journey in 1620. The Patuxet Homesite offers an experience of the history, heritage, and lifeways of the Indigenous People of this region from the unique cultural perspective of Native museum professionals. The Plimoth Grist Mill, added to Plimoth Patuxet Museums’ constellation of sites in 2013, explores the agricultural and technological evolution of later Plymouth Colony. Plimoth Patuxet provides the historical context to explore the world produced by cultural fusion in southern New England. Since opening its doors in 1947, the Museum has welcomed an estimated 30 million visitors.

About Plimoth Patuxet

Plimoth Patuxet is one of the Nation’s foremost living history museums. Founded in 1947, the Museum creates engaging experiences of history built on thorough research about the Indigenous and European people who met along Massachusetts' historic shores of change in the 1600s. Immersive and educational encounters underscore the collaborations as well as the cultural clash and conflicts of the 17th-century people of this region. Major exhibits include the Historic Patuxet Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, Mayflower II, and Plimoth Grist Mill. A private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution, Plimoth Patuxet is supported by admission fees, donations, memberships, and revenue from a variety of educational programming, dining and gift shops. Plimoth Patuxet receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. Located less than an hour’s drive south of Boston, and 15 minutes north of Cape Cod, the Museum is open daily from early spring through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. For more information, visit Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.