By Walter Brooks
Is the Smithsonian coming to town? Technically, it is already here! Plimoth Plantation proudly announced today, at a South Shore Community Leaders Breakfast, that effective this week, the museum known for its expertise in 17th-century New England, has been accepted as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
One of New England's oldest and most reknowned "living museums", Plimoth Plantation is host each year to over a half million visitors. It is fifteen miles over the bridge at Exit 5 on Route 3.
"The Smithsonian would like to say congratulations and welcome aboard! We look forward to working with Plimoth Plantation to enhance the vital services the museum offers to the public -- transporting visitors back to the time of the first English colonists, and the Native Wampanoag People," said Lawrence M. Small, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. "The many stories they tell are vitally important to an understanding of our country's origins."
Each year, nearly half a million modern-day "Pilgrims" come from all over the world to step almost four centuries back in time and become part of the living history experience at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Through its primary living history exhibits, the 1627 Pilgrim Village and Hobbamock's (Wampanoag) Homesite, Plimoth Plantation seeks to re-create the people, time and place of 17th-century Plymouth. See the plantation web site.
In 1997, the Smithsonian established an initiative to develop long-term relationships with museums through out the United States, while increasing awareness of the Smithsonian and its offerings -- hence the Smithsonian Affiliations program. The program allows select organizations to incorporate the expertise of Smithsonian scholarship, as well as the Smithsonian's unmatched collections into their long-term exhibition plans and educational outreach using the collections and intellectual property of the Smithsonian to enhance program offerings and reflect the interests and needs of local constituencies. Affiliate organizations must have goals compatible with the Smithsonian's mission, and they must maintain the high standard of excellence that is synonymous with Smithsonian's exhibit presentation and museum education. Plimoth Plantation met that criteria and was accepted into the program.
"Plimoth Plantation's acceptance into the Smithsonian Affiliation program raises the bar for our museum, by creating a formal association with one of the largest and most renowned institutions in the world," said John McDonagh, Executive Director of Plimoth Plantation. "We not only look forward to the opportunities this affiliation affords our museum, we are also very excited about the intellectual exchange, as well the sharing of museum collections, which will surely benefit constituents on our behalf."
It is Plimoth Plantation's ambition to begin incorporating aspects of the Smithsonian's collections into museum exhibits in 2006. Looking to the future, the relationship with the Smithsonian is expected to continue to evolve and develop successfully over time.
Plimoth Plantation is a 17th-century living history museum located an hour south of Boston in Plymouth, (Exit 4, Route 3 south) and 20 minutes north of Cape Cod. The museum is a private, non-profit educational institution supported by admission fees, contributions, memberships, function sales and revenue from our dining programs/services and museum shops. Plimoth Plantation is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Federal Institute of Museums and Library Services, The National Endowment for the Humanities, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses.
To walk in the shoes of a 17th century American, click here.