Mystic Seaport Museum Receives $103,703 National Maritime Heritage Grant

Funds Will Support Restoration of L.A. Dunton, the Museum’s 1921 Gloucester Fishing Schooner

Mystic, CT – Mystic Seaport Museum announced today that it is the recipient of a National Maritime Heritage Grant. The $103,703 award will fund the survey and documentation of the fishing schooner L.A. Dunton in preparation for restoration at the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.

Built in 1921 in Essex, Mass., the 123-foot long Dunton is one of the last surviving examples of the Grand Banks fishing schooners, once one of New England’s most common fishing vessels in the beginning of the twentieth century. The Dunton was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

“We are very grateful to be the recipient of this grant to support our continued stewardship of the L.A. Dunton, which provides an irreplaceable connection to the fishing history of New England,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “The funding will enable us to move ahead with critical infrastructure improvements and necessary documentation.” 

The Dunton was acquired by Mystic Seaport Museum in 1963. Since that time the vessel underwent several restorations, the most significant in 1973-1977 when the vessel received new topside framing, planking, and deck. The below deck spaces were restored to the original fisherman configuration. Bottom portions of her hull have never received comprehensive restoration. The planned work will address the vessel’s bottom, topsides, deck, and rigging to maintain her historic and structural integrity.

This planning grant will address steps required in advance of the restoration including upgrades to the Museum’s shiplift; a complete structural survey of the vessel to determine materials needed, work flow, and staffing; and documentation of the Dunton’s current condition using modern laser-scanning technology. The documentation work will allow the Museum to record the vessel’s present shape and detail, and recreate her original form and structural integrity.

The award is part of $2.6 million in maritime heritage grants given out by the National Park Service to assist funding 34 preservation and education projects in 14 states and the Northern Mariana Islands. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), the National Park Service awarded grants for projects that teach about and preserve sites and objects related to our nation’s maritime history.

The National Maritime Heritage Program Grant awards are made possible through a partnership between the two federal agencies, which both share a commitment to maritime heritage preservation and education. They are funded through recycling of vessels from the MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. The grant program supports a broad range of maritime education and preservation projects, without expending tax dollars, while ensuring that the vessels are dismantled in an environmentally sound manner.

Other organizations receiving grants include the USS Constitution Museum, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, New York’s South Street Seaport Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the Maritime Museum Association of San Diego.

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About Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography. The iconic Thompson Exhibition Building is a state-of-the-art gallery that will host The Vikings Begin: Treasures from Uppsala University, Sweden installation beginning on May 19, 2018. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. For more information, please visit  and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram.