May 20, 2018
Plimoth Plantation Gets $260K to Fund New Interpretive Plan

April 2, 2017 — Plimoth Plantation, a Plymouth nonprofit museum that tells the story of the 17th century settlement of the Plymouth Colony, last week announced that it has been awarded $260,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support a re-interpretation initiative.

Plimoth Plantation said the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will also provide another $100,000 for the multiyear project contingent upon the identification of private matching funds.

"We are grateful for the NEH, which has continued for more than 50 years to promote and support education in the humanities," said Ellie Donovan, executive director of Plimoth Plantation. “America’s founding story is part of our national memory and central to understanding who we are as citizens of this great nation. This project marks a bold and invigorating new chapter for this museum in which we can bring fresh insights to and encourage civil discourse informed by history.”

The comprehensive interpretive plan, the first of its kind in the museum’s 70-year history, called Along the Shores of Change, will transform the techniques and broaden the stories that Plimoth Plantation uses to communicate Plymouth Colony’s role in shaping American society, the organization said.

The museum will "further explore the rich Native transnational and European international nature of the human landscape in 17th-century New England, and align its education programs, preservation efforts, living history exhibits, and staff and volunteer training around this new interpretive plan."

The museum said at that as the 400th anniversary of Mayflower’s historic voyage and the first Thanksgiving approach, it sees rising public interest in the history of Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag homeland, which is noted makes the NEH grant especially timely.

Plimoth Plantation is a state-recognized archaeological repository housing some of the most important and well-documented collections of 17th century archaeology in America. The NEH grant, part of a $21.7 million funding for humanities projects nationally, will support the digitization of this collection and increase opportunities for the public to interact with artifacts and the stories and people behind the objects.

In addition to a new archaeology lab, the Along the Shores of Change initiative will introduce new multi-media and living history experiences.

“We want to provide all Museum visitors, whether onsite, online or in classrooms, with multiple ways to enter the Patuxet and Plymouth Colony story,” explained Kate LaPrad, Plimoth Plantation’s Deputy Director for Museum Experience. “Informed by public feedback, this re-interpretation will enable people to engage with Plimoth Plantation in a way that is comfortable, meaningful and enriching.”

Founded in 1947, Plimoth Plantation, a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, attracted 341,822 visitors in 2014, up from 296,714 the year before, according to the most recent data published by the Boston Business Journal, ranking it the eighth most visited museum in Massachusetts.

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