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date: 28 September 2022

Mystic Seaport Museumfree

Mystic Seaport Museumfree

  • Joseph Maurer

Historical museum located in Mystic, Connecticut. The Mystic Seaport Museum was founded in 1929 to document and preserve the United States’ maritime heritage. It consists of a recreated 19th-century village, a shipyard, and several hundred historic ships—most notably the Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, the last surviving 19th-century whaling ship and the oldest commercial vessel in the USA. The Seaport Museum has been key to the preservation and revival of sea chanteys and other maritime music through four primary avenues—its chantey demonstration staff, annual sea music festival, audio recordings, and archives. Stuart Frank, an educator at the Seaport, began using chanteys during his shipboard demonstrations for museum visitors in 1976. In 1979, Frank inaugurated the Seaport’s annual Sea Music Festival. Both practices have continued to the present era, the former serving to educate the public and preserve knowledge of shipboard chantey use among the Seaport’s staff, and the latter serving to annually gather many of North America’s and Europe’s preeminent maritime musicians. The dozens of audio recordings made at the Seaport document the chantey revival, allowing listeners to hear the performances of key figures like Stan Hugill as well as historically informed renditions of the songs ‘complete with the creaking of the halyard as the Demonstration Squad raises a sail aboard the Morgan’ (J.R. Carr, 2009, p.202). Finally, the Seaport has served as a base of chantey and maritime music scholarship, through its extensive archival collections and its Music of the Sea Symposium held annually in conjunction with the Sea Music Festival.

Bibliography

  • J.R. Carr: ‘New Sea Chantey Compilations on Compact Disc’, Journal of American Folklore, 122/484 (2009), 197–210

Recordings

  • The Seaport Museum has published live recording anthologies from many of its annual sea music festivals, generally titled [1st, 2nd, etc.] Annual Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport
  • Sea Chanties and Forecastle Songs at Mystic Seaport, perf. S. Frank, S. Gillespie, and E. Cohn, Folkways Records FW37300 (1978)
  • Songs of Sea and Shore, perf. S. Frank, Folkways Records FW05256 (1980)
  • Stan Hugill in Concert at Mystic Seaport, perf. S. Hugill, Mystic Seaport (1994)

See also