Morris Museum Loan Friday: History of the Mayflower

It’s #MorrisMuseumLoanFriday here at the Morris Museum and the Museum Loan Program! We wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!  Have you ever wanted to explore the decks of the Mayflower? Well here is your chance!  The Museum Loan Program presents the model of the Mayflower and her history!

The Ship: the Mayflower was a three-masted sailing ship of 180 tons, named for the spring flowering hawthorn. Before she was chartered to carry settlers to America, she had been carrying wines from France to England. The year after she returned from New England in 1621, she was scrapped. She made the Atlantic crossing in 67 days. The Mayflower II, a replica made in England in 1957, is 90 feet long, 26 feet wide with a 12 1/2 foot draft. These dimensions are educated guesses of those of the original ship.

Our model flies a Union Jack on the mainmast that was not officially designed until the 19th century, so this must be a model of the Mayflower II.

The Passengers: The Puritans were religious reformers who felt that the established Church of England was corrupt and needed to be changed. The Separatists (who became the Pilgrims) was the most extreme group. They wanted a new separate church.  For this they were persecuted; to escape, some fled to Holland in 1608. Still seeking more freedom, a group of 35 decided to leave Holland for the New World and a new start. They sailed to England in the small ship Speedwell to join others in London.

In London, the Separatists founded a group of merchants, the London Adventurers, who were ready to invest. Together with the money from the Pilgrims, they charted and provisioned the Mayflower. They also added men, like the soldier Myles Standish, to protect their investment. Only 40 or so Pilgrims sailed with these adventurers to make up the 102 passengers who set sail for America.

The Voyage: The Speedwell and the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, but the Speedwell proved unseaworthy. Both ships returned to port twice. Finally, on September 16, 1620, with all 102 passengers and a crew of 28, the Mayflower set sail alone from Plymouth under Captain Christopher Jones.

With hardtack, dried fish, cheese and salt beef to eat day after day during a rough voyage on the North Atlantic, these men, women and children survived 67 days. During this time, one servant boy died and one baby was born.

On November 19, 1620, they made landfall at Provincetown, Cape Cod, not Virginia as they had hoped. The passengers went ashore, but continued to live on board for nearly 5 weeks. Finally a site for the new settlement was picked out at Plymouth, already named by Captain John Smith, 5 years earlier. They sailed there, landing on Monday, December 21. The Mayflower anchored there for 4 months before all the passengers were established on shore.

The Museum Loan is a great toolfor teachers, librarians and home school parents to give students a hands –on learning experience. We have boxes that range from American History, art, birds, countries, vertebrates and everything in between. 

For more information, you can visit on our web page:

or call us at 973.971.3709.