Pilgrim Hall

Lower hall

Lower hall

Portrait of Elizabeth Wensley

Portrait of Elizabeth Wensley

We were blessed with a break in the rain Wednesday (the only day this week that we haven’t been drenched) and used the “good” weather to venture into downtown Plymouth to visit Pilgrim Hall, a small museum celebrating the arrival of the Mayflower and the early history of the Pilgrims in Plymouth. I wasn’t expecting much. Our primary goal was to find the portrait of Elizabeth Paddy Wensley (1641-1711), one of Jett’s 8th great-grandmothers. We found it, easily, but found much more, too. This turned out to be a very nice little museum.

One of the unexpected pleasures was a very informative 12-minute film about the Mayflower. It was presented in a small room that included artifacts that survived the journey – another surprise. I guess I had assumed that nothing would be left after 400 years. One of the artifacts was a rocker brought over by a very pregnant Susannah White – one of Jett’s Mayflower ancestors and a 9th great-grandmother. To see a rocker that likely once held her 8th great-grandfather, Resolved White (who was 6 years old in 1620) and definitely held her great-uncle, Peregrine White, the first English child born in the Plymouth Colony, really put a personal touch on the visit.

The room also had a poster which rather graphically depicted the toll of the brutal first winter during which half of the immigrants died. It was an opportunity to reflect on how tenuous our existence is. If any one of her ancestors had not won that 50/50 lottery, she would not be here today.

White rocker

White rocker

Mayflower deaths

Mayflower deaths

The museum also had a temporary exhibit of wedding dresses through the years, from Pilgrim times to the present. That interested Jett more than it interested me. But there were some very nice paintings of the Mayflower journey and Pilgrim life, the Bible owned by John Alden (another ancestor) and an early copy of Longfellow’s epic poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, which is about John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Another opportunity to reflect: if that “courtship” hadn’t taken an unexpected turn that resulted in Alden and Mullins marrying, Jett would not be here today.

The final unexpected pleasure was the gift shop. They had a coffee mug depicting the Alden/Mullins marriage, some really nice T-shirts and postcards and a variety of other things that we just had to have. I think we dropped about $150 in there.

All-in-all, a very nice time in a very nice museum. Recommended.

Courtship copy

Courtship copy

Alden Bible

Alden Bible

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