For the past five days, Plymouth 400 has hosted a delegation of five representatives from Plymouth, UK to formalize the partnership between the two countries in commemorating the 1620 Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth Colony, and to include them in important conversations with members of the Wampanoag Tribe, State and Federal legislators, and various tourism, cultural, and economic development agencies.
On Friday, March 13, Plymouth 400 and the visiting UK delegation visited the Massachusetts State House to meet with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to discuss the potential economic impact of the State’s upcoming 400th anniversaries—namely Quincy (2025), Salem (2026), and Boston (2030).
Here’s what the Senate President had to say about our visit: “Thank you to the delegation from Plymouth, England and our friends from Plymouth, MA for joining us at the Statehouse this afternoon. The 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in the New World will be an event to commemorate the history of not just Massachusetts but of our nation and our relationship with the United Kingdom.”
On Friday evening, Plymouth 400 hosted a welcome reception for the UK delegation at Plimoth Plantation, where our Board of Directors and leaders in the Plymouth community had an opportunity to speak with our international visitors.
On Saturday, Plymouth 400 held a working session focused on Cultural Exchange at the Spire Center. The UK delegation shared their plans for the 400th commemoration on “their side of the Pond” and heard from Plymouth 400 and Prosody Creative Services, the award-winning agency that produced Jamestown’s 400th in 2007, about the planned programs and events commemorating America’s earliest beginnings here in Massachusetts. Members of our Wampanoag Advisory Committee were in attendance as well, to speak of the importance of highlighting the Native story in these commemorations. We also heard from members of various cultural organizations in Plymouth, including the Plymouth Center for the Arts, Plymouth Bay Cultural District, Spire Center for Performing Arts, and First Parish of Plymouth. You can read more about the Cultural Exchange session from the Old Colony Memorial.
Our UK visitors were treated to tours of some of Plymouth’s most historical places, including Pilgrim Hall Museum, First Parish Church, the new Plymouth Colony Records Storage and Reading Room at the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, and the Mayflower Society House (along with having a delicious lunch provided by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!).
Plymouth Center for the Arts also hosted a reception for those attending the Massachusetts 400 Forum on Sunday evening, and despite the snow, we had a great turnout (and delicious treats courtesy of Plymouth Bay Winery!).
The Massachusetts 400 Forum on Monday, March 16 at Plimoth Plantation gave the delegation an opportunity to share their 400th commemoration’s plans with representatives from organizations and communities across the Commonwealth, including U.S. Representative William Keating, Massachusetts State Senator Vinny deMacedo, and Massachusetts Representatives Mathew Muratore of Plymouth and Paul Tucker of Salem. This event also opened up dialogues among many different groups, including the Wampanoag Tribes, communities across the commonwealth approaching 400th anniversaries, and State, cultural, and tourism agencies.
Plymouth 400 and the UK delegation then traveled to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 17 to meet with legislators at the Federal level to discuss the creation of a Federal Commission supporting Massachusetts’ upcoming 400th anniversaries. We also met with some of our congressional delegation including congressman Keating and a rep of Senator Markey’s office, the public diplomacy officer at the State Department and Brand USA, the nation’s Tourism marketing arm for inbound international travel.
Mayflower 400, one of the UK organizations represented on this trip (by Chief Executive Amanda Lumley), informed us during their stay in Plymouth that the UK government has committed to a £5 million project (approximately $7.4 million) supporting economic development in the Southwest region (in which Plymouth is located), with a view towards promoting Mayflower 400 as a driver of tourism to the area.
It’s been an incredibly productive week for the Plymouth 400 team! Many key partnerships and conversations were created.
The UK delegation is comprised of Amanda Lumley, Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth; Anthony Payne, Director of Development and Regeneration at Plymouth City Council; Dom Jinks, Executive Director for Plymouth Culture; Phil Davies, Principal and Chief Executive at City College Plymouth; and Councilor Peter Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council and Cabinet Member.
For more photos, check out Denise Maccaferri’s Plymouth 400 Photo Gallery.