The Hartford Courant describes the new Thompson Exhibition Building, on the northern end of the 19-acre Mystic Seaport Museum as sitting “like a piece of 21st-century abstract sculpture in the midst of a 19th-century fishing village.” Chad Floyd, one of the architect involved in the design, says that the Thompson is “not intended to evoke a historical maritime theme like the legendary seaport. Rather, the building calls to mind the sea itself.” Well, OK then.
I will reserve judgement on the structure until I see it in person. The structure may seem less jarringly out of place when viewed first hand than it appears to be in the photographs. Be that as it may, the Thomson Building’s Collins Gallery is the site of a new museum exhibit, “SeaChange,” which looks very interesting. The museum describes the exhibit as follows:
SeaChange, the inaugural exhibit in the Collins Gallery in the new Thompson Exhibition Building, presents a range of striking, surprising, and unusual objects drawn from the rich collections of Mystic Seaport. Each is a survivor of the past that speaks to a notable transformation—in material, technology, the sea itself, or the broader American culture over the past 200 years.
A special grouping of these intriguing artifacts are on display for the first time, alongside other Museum visitors’ favorites, all presented in a new setting with surprising stories. Together, they give glimpses into people’s lives in different places and times, from scientific surveyors charting the Atlantic coast on the eve of the American Revolution to western merchants trading for silk and tea in 1850s China, from Arctic explorers to laborers harvesting bird guano off Peru for American farmers. The stories of transformation they relate continue to impact our lives and our experiences with the sea.
Thanks to Irwin Bryan for contributing to this post.