The first time I visited Mystic Seaport Museum was around 1974 when, as a student of naval architecture with a summer job in New York City, I took the train out to Mystic, CT. It was like no museum I had ever visited. Instead of exhibits inside of a large building I found myself in an 18th century coastal shipping village with a cooperage, a chandlery, a bank, an apothecary, a print ship, a ropewalk, and of course, the ships. The whaler, Charles W. Morgan; the full rigged ship, Joseph Conrad; the fishing schooner, L.A. Dunton and at least a half score more of various shapes and sizes were a veritable fantasy world for one as ship obsessed as I. And what all brought it to life were the interpreters who both explained and demonstrated the technology, crafts and skills of the times past. I think I must have spent an hour on my first visit talking to the cooper about making barrels and in the ropewalk learning about spinning of ship’s hawsers. Alongside the ships, the interpreters are the living heart of this remarkable museum. Here is a video about how the interpreters bring history to life at Mystic Seaport.