The Mayflower 400 Commemoration Programme

The Mayflower 400 anniversary offered an opportunity to explore all aspects of the story and the impact of the ship's sailing through a diverse range of cultural events and commemorative projects.

Extended until September 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the highlights of our programme are listed below.

This section allows you to explore each element of the programme in-depth by clicking on each project to view videos, hear from the artists involved and read about the journey to each.

 

  • Mayflower 400: Legend And Legacy at The Box

    Mayflower 400: Legend And Legacy is the flagship exhibition for The Box - the city's new multi-million-pound cultural and heritage attraction.

    Featuring more than 300 objects drawn from museum, library and archive collections across the UK, USA and The Netherlands, Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy is an epic journal of survival, imagination and 400 years of America.

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  • Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America

    A project of huge cultural significance, the creation of a new Wampum belt by the Wampanoag People was the centrepiece of a ground-breaking exhibition titled 'Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America' which toured at venues across the UK.

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  • Thanksgiving and the National Day of Mourning

    The story of the first Thanksgiving has been much-disputed over the last four centuries - particularly by Native American community who instead mark the occasion with a National Day of Mourning.

    The origin of Thanksgiving may be uncertain, and we are right to continue to question it, but what has emerged is a day where true family and charity values have created a positive tradition.

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  • The Hatchling

    Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, thousands of people watched The Hatchling soar over Plymouth's waterfront in a unique performance which represented a powerful symbol of hope.

    This unique theatrical event was a poignant reminder of the power of community, with more than 250 local people from groups across the city joining the cast of the performance.

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  • Roots Up!

    The Roots Up! Hip Hop festival will be brought to you by the high-energy team from Plymouth’s Street Factory during a spectacular show on Plymouth Hoe.

    The event will now take place at 6pm on Friday 19 November in Plymouth city centre - the day after the city’s Christmas lights have been switched on.

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  • Speedwell

    'Speedwell' was a large-scale art installation in Plymouth which transformed the Mount Batten Breakwater into a public forum for discussion and debate about the impact and legacy of the ship's journey, colonialism and the ecological state of our planet.

    Created by local artist collective Still/Moving, 'Speedwell' was funded by Arts Council England and Plymouth Culture as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

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  • The Elephant in the Room

    One of the signature digital events in the Mayflower 400 Plymouth programme, this short film by Beyond Face isn’t a story about a ship, or a journey to another land.

    It is a story about today and six characters who are still experiencing the impact of our colonial history, in cities that have only just begun to speak about their complex past. This section contains links to information about the team behind the fascinating film and how you can watch it.

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  • Settlement

    ‘Settlement’ was a digital-based programme featuring art, performance, discussion and social interaction from 29 key artists Indigenous to North America and the Pacific.

    The programme showcased creative works that question the impacts of colonisation on a wide number of tribal nations who continue to thrive despite its long-term effects.

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  • Mayflower Autonomous Ship

    The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) is a ground-breaking new ship which aims to reflect the historic transatlantic voyage some 400 years ago.

    However, truly following in the footsteps of the original Mayflower, the MAS unfortunately had to cut short its maiden voyage just days after leaving Plymouth.

    The teams behind the project - IBM and ProMare - hope to attempt another crossing at a later date.

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  • The Mayflower: 400th Anniversary Special (History Hit Live)

    Well-known TV historian Dan Snow presented an online documentary which aired on 16 September, marking exactly 400 years to the day since the Mayflower set sail.

    Still available to view, 'The Mayflower: 400th Anniversary Special' History Hit Live digital programme reflects the story of the colonists, the impact their arrival had on the Native American people who helped them, and the wider colonial context of this journey.

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  • 16 September Anniversary

    The Mayflower eventually set sail from Plymouth, UK, on 16 September 1620 to start what would prove to be a treacherous transatlantic voyage to America.

    On board were more than 100 men, women and children – passengers and crew from different walks of life across England and the Dutch city of Leiden.

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  • The Pilgrim Woman

    Rachel Carter is a textile artist who can trace her ancestors back to the very places from many of the leading Pilgrims hailed in England before they planned their voyage on the Mayflower.

    In our My Mayflower short film, Rachel talks about becoming the 'Pilgrim Woman', which involved 130 cameras taking pictures of her to create a 3D image and a final sculpture which will live in the village of Austerfield - the birthplace of William Bradford himself.

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  • A Mile In My Shoes

    Held at Southampton's Westquay in September 2020, the Empathy Museum’s 'A Mile In My Shoes' was a shoe shop where visitors were invited to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally.

    Wearing a pair of the contributor's shoes, visitors could go for a walk, listening to the shoes' original owner telling them a story.

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  • Illuminate

    This spectacular festival of light officially launched the the Mayflower 400 commemoration year in November 2019 at a number of key locations across the globe.

    In Plymouth, a four-day extravaganza included stunning light shows at Royal William Yard, the Waterfront, and Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park.

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  • PilgrimAGE

    On 10th May 1608, a group of separatists began their escape from the town of Gainsborough’s riverside up the River Trent to Immingham and then on to Amsterdam. They lived in Holland for 12 years before some of them then made their journey to America.

    To mark this historic date, West Lindsey District Council launched PilgrimAGE – a digital campaign that allowed people to explore the history of the Pilgrims and their roots. 

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  • Mayflower videos

    As part of Mayflower 400, we produced a number of different video series covering all aspects of the commemorations.

    They included tours of the key locations connected to the story, as well as in-depth interviews with people involved in the programme.

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  • View from the Wampanoag Nation

    Bassetlaw Museum welcomed representatives of the Wampanoag nation, who built a traditional wetu in the grounds of the Museum.

    The visitors showcased their heritage through art, craft, music and storytelling. During the visit there was also a conference titled 'The Wampanoag Perspective', highlighting issues of acceptance, freedom and migration.

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  • Some Call It Home

    This thought-provoking, contemporary classical music drama by Robert Taub, music director at The Arts Institute Plymouth, responds to the arrival of the Mayflower passengers in modern-day Massachusetts in 1620.

    Some Call It Home enjoyed its premiere at Theatre Royal Plymouth in June 2021

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  • 400: A Comedy

    The award-winning Le Navet Bete team rounded off their 'Season of Silliness' at Theatre Royal Plymouth in summer 2021 with '400: A Comedy' - a fast-paced show for all the family which formed a key part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

    Watch our short film and discover more about this unique performance - including exclusive interviews with the extremely talented cast and crew.

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