Wednesday, April 17, 2019

NEHGS hosts a Mayflower 400th Open House

Earlier today the New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston held an opening ceremony commemorating the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.  Brenton Simons, the President and CEO of NEHGS gave an introductory speech about events planned for the next few years including new books, tours, online resources and more.  He introduced the four nations that were part of the commemoration (US, UK, The Netherlands and the Wampanoag).  There was intensive media coverage in the foyer of the library as it was crowded with NEHGS members, staff, and invited guests.

Brenton Simons declared the 400th anniversary events open. The UK consul general Harriet Cross gave an address on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  Dusty Rhodes, the chair of the Plymouth Massachusetts 400th Commission also gave an address, along with Michelle Pecoraro, the executive director the the Plymouth 400th, Inc. who listed 7 signature events in Plymouth with the first one starting on April 24, 2020 (She stated that there were over 125 sanctioned events for the 400th commemoration including lectures, tours, conferences and concerts - stay tuned!)

Paula Peters, the president of SmokeSygnals, a Native American consultancy located in Mashpee, Massachusetts, cut the ribbon for the sculpture created by Steven Peters. This art installation is a beautiful representation of a Patuxet mother and child along with a wampum belt.  Brenton Simons announced that a scholarship was formed by NEHGS for members of the Wampanoag nation to come to Boston and take part in educational events, as well as to bring members of the tribe to NEHGS to educate the public about native culture and history.

Nancy Maulsby, the chair of the NEHGS board of trustees, christened the 11 foot long replica of the "Boston Mayflower".  The large model, created by marine artist Terrance Geaghan of Bath, Maine, was wheeled out to the front of the library, next to the sidewalk and the Wampanoag art installation. These will both be displayed in the front garden during the 400th anniversary commemorations through 2020, except during inclement weather.

After the ceremonies a new exhibit was opened "Origins and Legacy of the Mayflower" on the first floor of the library.  There were many interesting and fun objects on exhibit including art objects, crewel embroidery, books, and a pair of replica chairs (you might have seen the original Bradford chair at the Pilgrim Hall museum) you can actually sit in.  I always thought they looked very uncomfortable, but they were actually quite comfy!

There were games and activities for children, free 15 minute genealogy consultations, and other activities for the general public.  Everyone was invited free to use the library all day until 8pm. Vincent and I explored some of the exhibits and watched the Wampanoag dancing.  Of course we bought a few items at the gift shop, and then wandered down Newbury Street for lunch.  It was a lovely day, almost 60 degrees, and the magnolias were in bloom in Back Bay.  We walked over to see the Boston Marathon cleanup going on in Copley Square, and drove down along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall before returning home to New Hampshire.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts
For the truly curious:

The New England Historic Genealogical Society:

NEHGS Mayflower website

See Vincent photographing the Boston Mayflower installation in front of the NEHGS front door in this video by Boston NBC Channel 10 news:

In this film by WBZ TV Boston news you can see both Yours Truly and Vincent, including Vincent dancing with the Wampanoag dancers:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "NEHGS hosts a Mayflower 400th Open House", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 17, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. So wish I could have come. I hope DAD knows we have so found his family.

    1. There will be many, many more events in 2019, 2020, and 2021 (First Thanksgiving!). I hope you will consider coming to New England to participate in some of these special events.