Mayflower II Coming to National Parks of Boston in 2020

A man in a National Park Service uniform speaks at a podium
Superintendent Michael Creasey speaks to a crowd at the press conference.

NPS Photo

By Caroline Keinath

The Mayflower II is making her debut voyage to the Charlestown Navy Yard in 2020, following a three-year multimillion dollar restoration effort. On Monday, July 8, 2019 National Parks of Boston hosted a joint press conference for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Boston, and Mayflower Sails 2020, at the Charlestown Navy Yard to announce the kickoff of Mayflower Sails 2020.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing on the shores of Massachusetts, the Mayflower II will be escorted by the USS Constitution into Boston Harbor. For the first time in history, three iconic vessels, spanning more than three centuries, will be united in the Charlestown Navy Yard; The Mayflower II, the USS Constitution, and the USS Cassin Young. These vessels are an arc of history, from the early settlers fleeing from England in search of religious freedom, to the naval sailors and the men and women who worked in the shipyard, defending freedom.

With the USS Constitution as a backdrop and the shipyard busy with tourists, National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Creasey welcomed Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Mayflower leadership, other dignitaries, and some 250 guests, with a reminder that the story of the Mayflower is everyone’s story. Superintendent Creasey stated, “History is best viewed through multiple perspectives, presented holistically and relevant to all people today. The most exciting opportunity lies with how we make the connection between the past, the present, and the future.”

“This stuff really matters,” Governor Charlie Baker said “and sometimes it takes a big moment like this, a seminal event, to bring everybody together to give it the kind of attention it’s due."

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head spoke of how the story of the Mayflower is “complicated” for native people and “dramatically changed the lives and lifestyles of native people but not always to the good.” A reminder that the narrative of the Mayflower has evolved and holds different meaning to people and those meanings need to be explored and presented to achieve relevancy and meaning for all.

The story of the Mayflower landing on the shores of Massachusetts and the first encounter of the Europeans with the native people is powerful, compelling, and has many layers. A six-day festival, from May 14-19, 2020, will engage the public with activities, events, and entertainment; bringing history to life. Activities will include free tours of all three ships, music, education programs for schools, sailing for kids, food trucks, and much more.

Last updated: October 29, 2019