In the northern part of the village of Mystic is an historic re-creation village called Mystic Seaport. It is located on the harbor shore on land that once was the site of two ship building companies. At one time the Mystic harbor was the largest ship building area in the world. One of the ship building facilities in Mystic Seaport is still in operation, now as a restoration operation. The fun and interesting thing about all of Mystic Seaport is that everything is done as it was historically – by hand. No electric power here. The only power tool I saw the whole day was a huge band saw and it was powered by belt drive from a diesel engine. The yard is several years into the restoration of an historic ship. The hull and everything below waterline outside is completed and the ship is afloat. There is still MUCH to do. In one building we watched a man doing some shaping on the bowsprit. His only tool a hand plane. The masts were shaped the same way.
The other 2/3 of the village consists of historic buildings and shops that have been moved to the village and rebuilt along several streets. Each building houses some aspect of the fishing/whaling/sailing era. Cooper smith, boat smith (blacksmith for boats), rope making, navigation, boat building, carving, and on and on. Each building has crafts persons giving demonstrations and lots of explanations. There are some self guide areas but mostly there is some one available to give explanations and history. Here too everything is done by hand. No power tools for the cooper smith – just planes and draw knives and ropes(to squeeze the staves together). Need a metal part for your boat? – Visit the boat smith who will make it by hand. Learned that the intricately carved parts of the boats all had a function. The carving was secondary.
Several vessels tied at wharfs for walking on and through. Each with docents to explain things. There is an area with several museums covering aspects of commercial sailing and ship building. Good exhibits! I get bored easily in most museums and these kept my interest. There a cool small pool that has several hands-on stations demonstrating the physics of sailing. Hull design comparison, water displacement, ballast, bilge pumping, rowing, and others.
We spent over 4 1/2 hours at Mystic Seaport and covered most but not all of it. Admission is good for two days and one could easily do that to see it all well. Another cool thing. – We got a senior discount AND a AAA discount on top of that. Never seen that before.
Twine in from left, rope out the other side.
These look like ornamental paperweights but they have a historical function (the clear ones anyway). The hold of a ship has no windows so is very dark. The prisms were mounted on the deck. Light gathered by the prism was transferred to the hold to give light below deck.