2017 AMERICA AND THE SEA AWARD GALA
Mystic Seaport presented its 2017 America and the Sea Award to David Rockefeller Jr. and Sailors for the Sea. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.
Rockefeller and Sailors for the Sea received the award October 11 at a gala dinner held in their honor in New York City.The America and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.
Describing Rockefeller as, “an avid sailor and storied competitor, and a champion of the natural world,” Mystic Seaport Chairman Barclay Collins cited the common goals of the honorees and the Museum. “We have a shared mission to educate today’s youth, not only about the importance of our seas to our culture and growth as a nation, but also Sailors for the Sea’s focus on the fragility of our seas, and to actively enlist them in measures to protect that environment.”
A highlight of the evening was a “paddle raise” challenge to support the ongoing curation and conservation of the Rosenfeld Collection of maritime photography. Acquired by Mystic Seaport in 1984, it is one of the largest archives of maritime photographs in the United States with nearly one million pieces dating from 1881 to 1992. More than $120,000 was raised from the gathered guests to continue work on the collection.
David Rockefeller Jr., Chairman of Rockefeller & Co., is an active participant in the nonprofit arena, especially in the areas of the environment, the arts and philanthropy. He served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission from 2000-2003, and he founded Sailors for the Sea to educate the recreational boating community about significant challenges to ocean health and to motivate them to become ocean stewards. Sailors for the Sea is located in Newport, RI, with satellite offices in Japan, Portugal, and Chile.
Rockefeller is a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Cultural Council and the David Rockefeller Fund. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Sailors for the Sea was founded as a collective rallying cry for a community that loves and is passionate about protecting the ocean. Since its start in 2004 by lifelong friends and sailors David Rockefeller Jr. and David Treadway, the non-profit organization has been inspiring and activating the sailing and boating community toward healing the ocean. Sailors for the Sea is a movement and pragmatic voice for action that addresses current environmental challenges including plastic pollution, ocean acidification, climate change and toxic chemicals that threaten marine life, our health—and the health of our children for generations to come. Their programs have been created to empower boaters to become catalysts for change while working to restore our ocean to the vibrant and bountiful resource it once was. To learn more about their work visit www.sailorsforthesea.org.
Past recipients of the America and the Sea Award include oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle, historian David McCullough, legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens, President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation Thomas Crowley, philanthropist William Koch, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, WoodenBoat Publications founder Jon Wilson, yachtsman and author Gary Jobson, maritime industrialist Charles A. Robertson, author Nathaniel Philbrick, and Rod and Bob Johnstone and their company J/Boats.
About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929 to gather and preserve the rapidly disappearing artifacts of America’s seafaring past, the Museum has grown to become a national center for research and education with the mission to “inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.”
The Museum’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River in Mystic, CT and include a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. The Museum is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.
The Museum hosts 284,000 visitors annually and has an active membership base of 14,000 from all over the Unites States and the world.
A stroll through the historic village enables visitors to experience firsthand from staff historians, storytellers, musicians, and craftspeople just what life was like to earn one’s living from the sea. In the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, they can watch shipwrights keeping the skills and techniques of traditional shipbuilding alive as they restore and maintain the Museum’s watercraft collection and other vessels.
The Museum’s 41,000 square-foot Collections Research Center (CRC) offers exceptional physical and electronic access to the more than 2 million artifacts. The collections range from marine paintings, scrimshaw, models, tools, ships plans, an oral history archive, extensive film and video recordings, and more than 1 million photographs—including the incomparable Rosenfeld Collection. The CRC is also home to the G.W. Blunt White Library, a 75,000-volume research library where scholars from around the world come to study America’s maritime history.
To share the experience this physical record represents, Mystic Seaport employs a diverse staff of scholars, librarians, historic interpreters, educators, scientists, musicians, and skilled artisans. The Museum’s educational philosophy has three parts: onsite, on board, and online. Students at all levels are invited to come to the Museum to participate in a unique learning experience, whether as part of an elementary school field trip, a college semester with the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program (a partnership with Williams College), or a graduate seminar with the Munson Institute. Sail training is offered through Community Sailing Programs or on a voyage aboard the 1931 schooner Brilliant. The Museum has also developed an innovative Mystic Seaport for Educators website, where students and educators can utilize digital access to the collections to help shape new learning tools and bring the American maritime experience into their classrooms.
For more than 85 years, visitors, students, and scholars have turned to Mystic Seaport to preserve and interpret America’s maritime experience. The Museum’s commitment to that mission is as strong as ever.
At Mystic Seaport, we strive to create an environment where visitors not only learn from us, but we learn from them. The concept is called Public History and it allows our visitors to experience history in ways they haven’t before.