Plimoth Patuxet Museums Gets $1M Donation for Mayflower II
Plimoth Patuxet

May 10, 2022 — Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, a nonprofit formerly known as Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum of 17th century New England, yesterday announced it received a $1 million donation to support the educational mission of Mayflower II, a reproduction of the ship that in 1620 carried the Pilgrims to what eventually became Massachusetts.

A spokesperson for the Safe Family Foundation, which made the donation, said, “It is a great joy and honor to support Plimoth Patuxet Museums and Mayflower II. Our father, Mike Safe, had a long-standing relationship with the museum as a trustee. He believed in the value of its educational mission, as do we. What we learn from history is relevant to the world today.”

Plimoth Patuxet Museums said the director of maritime preservation and operations position will be named in honor of Kenneth Shaw Safe, Jr. Currently holding the position is Whit Perry, who led the three-year restoration of the ship and is responsible for overseeing its routine maintenance.

“This major gift is an inspiring investment in the Museum’s educational mission,” said Ellie Donovan. executive director of Plimoth Patuxet,. “We are deeply grateful to the Safe Family Foundation for helping to ensure that our maritime program and Mayflower II will sail far into the future.”

A major exhibit of Plimoth Patuxet Museums, the iconic ship was built in Brixham, Devon, England from 1955 to 1957 to memorialize the friendships and alliances formed during World War II. The fate of the original Mayflower is unknown, and may have been scrapped for its lumber.

Despite routine maintenance, the ship deteriorated over the course of 60 years. Plimoth Patuxet embarked on a $11.2 million fundraising campaign to restore Mayflower II. Skilled shipwrights and artisans from Mystic Seaport Museum and Plimoth Patuxet fully restored the ship according to the secretary of the interior's standards for historic vessel preservation. Nearly 70% of the ship’s timbers, planking, structural frames, knees, and beams were replaced, using six types of wood from eight states and as far away as Denmark.

Recently, Mayflower II was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Last month, Plimoth Patuxet announced a year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary, during which the museum will offer special programs, activities, and events. 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.

According to the museum, each year 90,000 students and educators visit the site, which includes a 17th century village and a grist mill, in addition to Mayflower II, as well as exhibition space.