Nearly 400 years ago Droitwich man Edward Winslow boarded the Mayflower, bound for North America. To commemorate this important anniversary, Mayflower2020 explores the voyage and legacy of the Mayflower through archaeology, costume and fascinating objects from the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum's World Cultures collection. 

This exhibition brings together 17th century archaeological objects, replica costume and beautiful objects made by Canadian and North American indigenous communities and collected by Worcestershire people who travelled to the Americas in centuries gone by.

It will contrast the stories, costume and domestic objects that the Mayflower Pilgrims took with them to America, with stories and objects representing some of the indigenous cultures that settlers encountered.

It draws on recent research into Worcester’s World Cultures collection, and will spotlight some key rare and seldom seen collection items, like our seal gut parka and embroidered cradle board, and explain how these objects came to rest in Worcester - some 3,000 miles from their origin.


The seal gut parka

The conflicts between settlers and indigenous populations found their way into 20th century popular culture, and the exhibition will look at how difficult stories like the Mayflower, Cowboys and Indians, the battle of the little Big Horn and Custer’s last stand were translated by stage and screen.

This exhibition marks an important step in the museum service’s research to understand how our colonial past shaped our collections and institutions.

Key highlights of the exhibition:

Bite Size Talks

Tuesday 14 January, 1-1.30pm

Setting Sail: An introduction to the Mayflower exhibition.

Tuesday 10 November, 1-1.30pm

Pilgrims Choice - Mayflower 400: Find out about the Mayflower and its inhabitants on its 400th anniversary of setting sail from Plymouth to find religious freedom in North America.

(Cost is £3 per person; to book call 01905 25371)

Family Activity Day

Tuesday 18 February, 11am-3pm

Sail away with Mayflower 400 - family drop-in: Create a 3D work of the Mayflower and the ocean beneath her. Plus enjoy Mayflower activity trails throughout the week.

(Cost is £3 per child)

Curators Tours

Monday 17 February, 11.30am

Objects of Empire: Drop in and meet the museum curator as she talks about objects in the collections that came from around the world.

Monday 20 April, 11.30am 

All at Sea: Drop in and meet the museum curator as she talks about her favourite objects in the exhibition and the fascinating stories that have come from the research.

(Tours take approx 30 minutes to an hour, no booking needed, and cost is £3 per person)

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Mayflower 400 Proudly Supported by our National Sponsors and Funding Partners