Plimoth Patuxet Museums announced today a $1 million donation from the Safe Family Foundation for the Museum’s endowment. The gift will help support the educational mission of Mayflower II.
A family spokesperson commented, “It is a great joy and honor to support Plimoth Patuxet Museums and Mayflower II. Our father, Mike Safe, had a long-standing relationship with the Museum as a Trustee. He believed in the value of its educational mission, as do we. What we learn from history is relevant to the world today.”
In honor of this leadership donation, the Director of Maritime Preservation and Operations position will be named the Kenneth Shaw Safe, Jr. Director of Maritime Preservation and Operations. The current person in the position is Whit Perry, who led the three-year restoration of the ship and is responsible for overseeing the routine maintenance of the historic vessel. A major exhibit of Plimoth Patuxet Museums, the iconic ship was built in Brixham, Devon, England from 1955 to 1957. Mayflower II memorializes the friendships and alliances formed during World War II. The ship arrived in Plymouth harbor under sail on June 13, 1957 to great fanfare and 25,000 spectators. Since then, under Plimoth Patuxet’s stewardship millions of visitors have stepped aboard to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey.
“This major gift is an inspiring investment in the Museum’s educational mission,” said Executive Director of Plimoth Patuxet, Ellie Donovan. “We are deeply grateful to the Safe Family Foundation for helping to ensure that our maritime program and Mayflower II will sail far into the future.”
Despite routine maintenance, the ship succumbed to the deterioration process expected of any organic material exposed to natural elements over the course of sixty years. Plimoth Patuxet’s leadership embarked on a $11.2 million fundraising campaign to restore Mayflower II. Skilled shipwrights and artisans from Mystic Seaport Museum and Plimoth Patuxet fully restored the ship according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation. Nearly 70% of the ship’s timbers, planking, structural frames, knees, and beams were replaced, using six types of wood from eight states and as far away as Denmark.
Mayflower II returned to her homeport, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 in time to sail into the spotlight of the Nation's 400th milestone commemoration. Mayflower II was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the Nation's historic structures and places worthy of preservation. In addition to this important recognition Plimoth Patuxet Museums is also the recipient of the 2021 Preservation Massachusetts Tsongas Award for Mayflower’s stem-to-stern multi-year, multi-million-dollar preservation project. The Tsongas award recognizes people and projects that have displayed the highest level of commitment to historic preservation in the Commonwealth. The ship also won the People’s Choice Award for a preservation project in Massachusetts. The award was a public vote to choose the favorite successful project for rehabilitation of a regionally or nationally significant structure in Massachusetts.