Seaport on Sunday

We spent the entire day at the Mystic Seaport.  In all my years of living in New England I had never been to the Mystic Seaport.  

It's been on my list to take the boys there but we kept putting it off and putting it off.  Well, when we learned that this was educator's weekend and that as a homeschool family we would get in for free we decided it was finally time to check it out.  

The boys weren't all that overjoyed at the thought of spending the day in another colonial village (after having been to Old Sturbridge Village multiple times) and were a bit grouchy while getting ready to go this morning.  But I knew that they'd love it once we got there.

We have so much fun learning about history when we have so many hands on opportunities to experience what it was really like.

Once there they were so busy they didn't have time for much complaining.  

We stopped in the general store and the lady inside held up various objects for the boys to guess their use and then she explained what they were and how they were used.  

Learning about goods used back in the day;
no this is not a plunger for the non-existent
toilets.  It's for agitating the laundry on wash day

We stopped in at the local church and saw how tiny it was.  

We walked through a whaling ship and saw all the berths, the galley, and illustrations explaining how they caught whales.  We listened to the explanation of how they rendered the oil out of the fat from the whale and what parts of the whale were used.  

Charles W. Morgan 
Inside the Morgan 
Pictures of the various steps in whaling 
Checking out the oil processing area on the Morgan
They got to try their hand at harpooning (though Alec was the only one brave enough to try it out).  
"Dart the Iron"-- what we called out to each
person as they prepared to harpoon 

We sat through a planetarium show and learned all about the constellations that we could see in tonight's sky.  Alec shouted out 99% of the answers (it was dark so hand raising wasn't an option and the guy asked them to call them out if they knew; and he KNEW!). I was amazed at how much Alec remembered from our constellation unit a few weeks ago and had to giggle when I heard my husband mutter "man, how do you know all that?"

 We Checked out all the cool anchors, chains, cannons and other shipping "stuff" that was set out around the village. 

Man the cannons! 

Checking out the weight of the anchor chains 

Anchors away! 

We saw so many HUGE anchors 

 We walked through the rest of the town and checked out most of the buildings.  

The Joseph Conrad (a full rigged ship)
The village 

We watched the print setters at work and the boys inspected some of the tools up close.

Checking out the typeset words
Trying out the spacers they use to hold the typeset tight in the frames 
We watched the cooper make some barrels and heard the bell like ringing a tightly made barrel will make.  Alec noticed roman numerals written around the outside and asked us what the x was.  We told him it was 10 and the next thing I knew he was going around the barrel "14, 15, 16,.... 20"; teaching himself roman numerals! 

The cooper showing off his barrel planks 

We watched the wood carvers carve a sign and watched the blacksmith at work for a bit.
The woodcarver at work 

We wandered over to common where another blacksmith was at work and after waiting patiently and asking lots of questions Alec was chosen to help with one of the demonstrations.  He got to help make a simple wall hook.  He was so proud and remembered so much of what the demonstrator said from one demonstration to another.  He was able to relate a lot of what he was learning to Minecraft and several of the kids watching all had a lot to input once the guide put it in terms of Minecraft.

A blacksmith apprentice 

Working the hook 

Punching the hole 

Showing off the finished product-- which he got to keep!  
We walked through several more boats; including the Mayflower II & the Amistad.   The boys enjoyed the mini replica of Old Mystic and we walked around the whole thing.

We also watched a breeches buoy life-saving drill.  Before the coast guard came into play many mariner towns had life saving rescue teams.  We got to see how they'd rescue stranded crew members from shipwrecked boats.

We learned about clamming, got to see the sails inside the sail shop, and walked around a working shipyard.

We learned about the steps in restoring boats and got to see what materials and techniques were used on refurbishing the Charles W Morgan.  There was a mini cross cut Morgan on display in the ship yard so we could what it would have looked like full of cargo and crew.

There were a few buildings we skipped/missed and many, many more demonstrations.  There was just so much to see and do.  We had a great time learning all about maritime history.

mini replica of Old Mystic 

Setting up the Breeches Buoy 

setting the buoy line 

The breeches (see the pants attached to the life saver?)

Rescuing a sailor from sea to shore 

Learning about clams and oysters 

Look at all those piles of sail cloth! 
The schooner Australia. Crumbling and falling apart,
we learned a lot about how boats were made as we walked
through it. 

Cross section of the Morgan. 

The various woods used on the Morgan and where they're located

The Mayflower II 

The Kingston II tugboat

Linking Up with:


  1. Looks a fun day out. We are going to the historic dock yard in Portsmouth (UK) again soon and looking forward to it #FamilyFun

  2. That looks like a seriously cool day out, I can't believe how much stuff there is to see and do! Glad you had fun and ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

    1. It was so neat! They had lots of extra demonstrations going and we were so pleased with how "hands on" everything was.


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