Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy

Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy

Until 2 January 2022

Winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers 'Best UK and Ireland Tourism Project 2020' Award.

All visits to 'Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy' are ticketed. If you're a Plymouth City Council tax payer your first four tickets to the exhibition are free! Find out more from our Plan Your Visit page.

Entry £5 per person
Free to Plymouth City Council tax payers (up to 4 tickets on your first visit), under 18s and companions
Discounts for Plymouth residents and Members privileges are applied after logging in.

2020-2021 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to America in 1620. It's a local, national and international story of one ship which connects five nations over 400 years. Today more than 30 million people claim a connection to the Mayflower and its passengers. We share in a history which challenged traditions, caused conflicts and created communities. It's a story of survival and imagination. At The Box it's being 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 have travelled 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.

The Second Peirce Patent on display in 'Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy' exhibition at The Box, Plymouth

Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy explores early English attempts to colonise America and acknowledges conflict with Native America and the impact of colonisation on the indigenous population. It looks at the context the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, 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 1,000 Mayflower descendants of today.

The exhibition also includes a new Wampanoag work, created specifically for this show by the artist Nosapocket/Ramona Peters. Her traditional pot 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.

pot from the mayflower

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

Featured image: Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts.