Our mission

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts.

This is a unique opportunity to commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the journey and to highlight their stories and heritage, which is embedded in communities across the UK, US and Netherlands and the Wampanoag Nation.

The Mayflower 400 programme has been created to leverage this opportunity, aligning 11 core destinations in England with wider local, national and international partners and over 25 million US citizens descended from the Mayflower. It will deliver a world-class series of events, public art and wider content that will commemorate this exceptional voyage and provide a major ongoing impact across the partnership, knitting together communities, inspiring creativity and culture, driving economic growth, and promoting understanding and education.

Mayflower 400 will champion the values of freedom, humanity, imagination and the future, that informed the original journey, and which continue to be articulated in the special relationship between the UK, US and Netherlands.

At the same time, the commemoration will recognise the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of colonialism and migration, providing an accurate, inclusive account of the Mayflower’s legacy.

Together, we will draw inspiration from our past to steer our future – from now, to 2020, and for generations to come.

The projects:

• Education
• Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality
• Illuminate and other cultural events
• International Visitor Programme
• National Trail and Elizabethan House
• Volunteering Programme
• The Mayflower Autonomous Ship


The aims and objectives of the Mayflower Education programme is to implement an in depth understanding of the Mayflower story into schools across the UK through the supply of Key stage 1, 2 and 3 materials from 2018 onwards, leading up to the 2020 launch. Core funding has been provided to develop the initial curriculum and programs are being developed to include VR / AR and Illuminate projects

• A target of 743 schools across the UK

• Totalling 124,392 Higher Education and Primary Education students across the partnership

• Any workshops created throughout the programme will be uploaded as a teacher resource.

• National events including Illuminate and a touring VR roadshow


Virtual Atlantic Crossing

• The Mayflower VR vessel will virtually travel the Atlantic providing a daily opportunity to interact at different stages of the journey. The vessel will provide additional enhanced story-lines for people to interact with.

Augmented Reality Ship

• In addition to the VR vessel that people can view, travel round, and explore the team will create an augmented reality ship that people will be able to view through their phone cameras. Anywhere along the coast, people will be able to hold up the app and see the Mayflower sailing across the horizon.


The Mayflower Muster

• The Mayflower Muster, expected to be held across a number of days, will be an event on a global scale, combining activities on land and water alongside a programme with ambitions to bring together UK, US and Dutch naval forces to celebrate the special relationship between the Mayflower linked nations.


• Illuminate will be one of the flagship events of Mayflower 400 commencing in 2019, Illuminate will be a series of large scale, outdoor, light based participatory events across the UK, Netherlands and the US. Illuminate 2020 will be the grand culmination passing the heritage of the Mayflower on to future generations.


Mayflower Makers

• Mayflower Makers is a coordinated two year programme of exhibitions and professional development opportunities for artist makers working at a national and international level. This series of new, innovative and impactful art works are to be commissioned and delivered alongside a series of professional development events, and beyond that provide a contemporary relevance to the historical and momentous anniversary of Mayflower.

The Mayflower Discovery

• The Mayflower Discovery project will be the creation of a series of commissioned art works at a national and international level, including commissions in the UK, Leiden and Massachusetts.

Trails and Historic Houses

The Trails and Historic Houses programme is a nationally coordinated Mayflower trail that will be installed across 11 key destinations, to commemorate the role that these destinations played in the Mayflower Story. Collectively the 11 trails will be a major new national tourism asset that will continue to benefit each location for many years to come.

There will also be a Digital Trail bringing the national trail and each local trail to life through an overarching website, augmented reality app and online resources. This global portal binds the trails together and enhances people’s understanding of the wider story and the part each location played.


To train 100 Mayflower Makers

- trained knowledgeable ambassadors of Mayflower 400

• To run volunteer projects with 400 businesses

• To recruit 10,000 individual volunteers

• To achieve 30,000 hours of volunteering per year

• Opportunity to extend to 10 other compact partner regions with investment. Generating 300,000 hours of volunteering hours.

• 5 events per area will be organised locally with average 100 participants: national total 5,500 participants

The Box

The Box is a major scheme in the heart of Plymouth, a symbol for Plymouth’s current regeneration and a museum for the future.

The Box (previously referred to as the Plymouth History Centre) will open as the flagship building for the Mayflower 400 commemorations in spring 2020.

It will be a museum for the 21st century with extraordinary gallery displays, high profile artists and art exhibitions, as well as exciting events and performances that take visitors on a journey from pre-history to the present and beyond.

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship

The first ever autonomous vessel crossing of the Atlantic. Led by a team of highly influential technology experts with links to the Ministry of Defence, the MSubs team.

Unmanned vessels have huge legal and navigational challenges. This initiative will aim to combat a number of them taking giant strides for the shipping industry, combining a huge range of technology, data, monitoring, and surveillance equipment to ensure the boat reaches its’ destination successfully.

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