Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy

Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy

29 September 2020 - 18 September 2021

All visits to The Box will be ticketed. Find out more from our Plan Your Visit page.

Entry £5 per person
Free to Plymouth residents (up to 4 tickets), under 18s and companions

2020 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to America in 1620. The Mayflower is a local, national and international story. One ship connects five nations over 400 years. Today more than 30 million people claim a connection to the Mayflower and its passengers of 400 years ago. We share in a history which challenged traditions, caused conflicts and created communities. It is a story of survival and imagination. In Plymouth it will be told through objects, images and ideas from both sides of the Atlantic.

Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy is an epic journey of survival, imagination and 400 years of America. Our exhibition has been created in partnership with the Wampanoag Advisory Committee to Plymouth 400 in Massachusetts, and with the help of over 100 museums, libraries and archives across the UK, US and The Netherlands.

Many objects are coming to Plymouth for the first time, or are returning to the city for the first time in 400 years. Native American items from the National Museum of the American Indian and the Harvard Peabody collection present 12,000 years of indigenous history, while the Second Peirce Patent from Pilgrim Hall Museum is the oldest existing state document of New England.

We are also pleased to exhibit a new Wampanoag piece, created specifically for this show by the artist Nosapocket/Ramona Peters. Her artwork is Plymouth’s first ever artistic commission to a Wampanoag artist and we are honoured to welcome it into the permanent collections of The Box.

The exhibition uses objects, images and ideas to explore early English attempts to colonise America. It also acknowledges conflict with Native America and the impact of colonisation on the indigenous population. Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy also discusses the context the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, details the lives of the passengers, and considers the cultural, demographic and personal legacies of the story. A partnership with the New England Historical Genealogical Society has also enabled us to present the images of 1000 Mayflower descendants of today.

pot from the mayflower

The Mayflower connects people across land, sea and time. For 400 years its impact has been personal, political and, as a result, powerful. Plymouth played its part in the Mayflower story in 1620. In commemorating it in 2020, we are part of its living legacy.

Featured image: Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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