Support a New Exhibit: The Mayflower: A 2020 Perspective

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey to America, Museum of the Bible is excited to reveal The Mayflower Manuscript to the public for the first time in this special exhibit September 2020–March 2021.

Four centuries after its famous voyage, the Mayflower invokes images of a small merchant ship carrying a group of “pilgrims” bound for a new land. These pilgrims, and the colony of Plymouth they established in 1620, would become foundational to the American story in the centuries ahead. While their story is celebrated, however, the ship that carried them is usually an afterthought. Indeed, we hardly know any historical details about the Mayflower. Until now.

For the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey to America, Museum of the Bible is excited to host a special exhibition that reveals this new manuscript to the public. The manuscript, now named The Mayflower Manuscript, dates to December 8, 1610, and records an agreement between Peter Hilles of Redriffe to sell his rights in a group of ships, including the Mayflower, to his nephew Robert Bell of Redriffe. The Mayflower listed here is likely the same Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth Colony in 1620.

The Mayflower Manuscript
Section of The Mayflower Manuscript

What was the Bible’s impact?

The Mayflower was the vessel that brought the small group known as the Pilgrims to America. With Bible in hand, the Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony as a community where they could live according to their own beliefs. The effect of this moment has had a profound and lasting impact on America, both for those who came by ship and those who met them on the shore.

In this exhibit, guests will discover:

  • A never-before-exhibited manuscript that provides new information regarding the ownership of the Mayflower
  • Archivist Ashley Carter’s two-year journey of research to determine the likelihood that this document refers to the ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth Colony
  • The history of the Mayflower
  • What the Mayflower meant to the Pilgrims
  • What the Mayflower symbolizes to Native Americans
  • The importance of the Mayflower in American culture

How Can You Help?

The budget for the exhibition, including research, exhibition development, fabrication, technology, installation, shipping, conservation, cultural and educational programs, etc. is estimated to be $100,000. Detailed cost projections are available.

For more information about sponsorship and naming opportunities or other ways to support this project, please contact Jon Sharpe, chief relations officer, or Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, chief curatorial officer.

Jon L. Sharpe
Chief Relations Officer
(206) 295-8343

Dr. Jeffrey Kloha
(202) 910-6612