The Roots of Collaboration with Mystic Seaport

I have had an ongoing collaboration with Mystic Seaport since I became a Cuffe Fellow (Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship) in 2006.  My paper “Beyond Reservation: Indians, Maritime Labor, and Communities of Color from Eastern Long Island Sound, 1713-1861″ was presented at the September 2006 conference Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Power in Maritime America and, in 2008, published in an anthology of the same title (published by Mystic Seaport, edited by Glenn S. Gordinier).

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More recently, my work on the Indian Mariners Project has intersected with the Seaport’s restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the only surviving 19th century wooden whaleship in the world.  Through this project I have worked with some of the finest scholars and have experienced the most thoughtful and committed staff anywhere.  In addition to the Morgan charrette in January 2012, I spent five weeks last summer at Mystic Seaport as a participant in the NEH Summer Institute: The American Maritime People.  Yup, pretty much a dream! This immersive learning environment was most certainly a highlight of my academic career – hearing from the key scholars in maritime history and from my peers whose interests in maritime history parallel my own (though in their own unique ways).  I had lots of hands-on time on Seaport grounds, on the schooner Argia, the steamship Sabino, and even a couple of late afternoon sails on the Mystic River in one of the 30 foot whaleboats.  I did manage to spend a chunk of my free time in the Seaport’s Collections Research Center (aka the Archives) mining ship logbooks and gearing up for the next phase of work.

Up next…Google Earth!

Charles W. Morgan, last wooden whaling ship, p...

Charles W. Morgan, last wooden whaling ship

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