The word “Thanksgiving” conjures up warm childhood memories of paper hand turkeys, feathered headbands, nifty Pilgrim songs, turkey and stuffing. All in all, an accurate representation of our forefathers’ first Thanksgiving, right? Hmmmm…. four hundred years of history tells us that perhaps this isn’t precisely true.
If you want to help set the record straight, plan a student trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival in Plymouth Harbor. This internationally anticipated event will highlight the story of the Wampanoag and English people and their cultural contributions to America.
Plimoth Plantation, an interactive 17th century experience centered on the Wampanoag people and the English settlers of Plymouth Colony, will be at the heart of the celebrations. Plimoth Plantation has been committed to sharing a realistic perspective of life in the 1600s since 1947. Visiting student groups will interact with history in a uniquely engaging setting while exploring the daily challenges and triumphs of both the settlers and Native People.
As part of the commemorations, Plimoth’s full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower (the Mayflower II) will be renovated and stand ready to share the experience of traveling across the Atlantic with 102 passengers for 66 days. Students may be shocked that it isn’t quite as luxurious as the cruise ships of modern times!
Pilgrim Hall Museum
Pilgrim Hall Museum will be part of the 400th festivities as well. Founded in 1824, it is the oldest continuously operating museum in the country. Pilgrim Hall Museum will exhibit People & Icons of Early Plymouth February through December of 2020. In addition, a large-scale embroidered tapestry telling the story of Plymouth will be on display. It promises to be a distinctive tribute to the Wampanoag and English people of 1620.
400th Events in Plymouth
The town of Plymouth will host a series of signature events throughout the year, beginning with an opening ceremony April 24, 2020 at Plymouth’s Memorial Hall. This historic occasion will set the stage for the 400th as guest speakers, performers, international dignitaries and heads of state come together to honor the past and look to the future. Other events slated for 2020-2021 include:
• Official Maritime Salute to the 400th (June 27-28)
• Wampanoag Ancestors Walk (August 15)
• Official State House Salute to the 400th (September 14)
• Embarkation Festival (September 19-20)
• Indigenous History Conference and Pow Wow (October 30 – November 1)
Illuminate Thanksgiving November 20-25, 2020
Thanksgiving Week of 2020 in Plymouth promises to be monumental. Designed with young people in mind, the week’s events are designed to spotlight America’s rich heritage and encourage gratitude and giving in all communities. Activities include:
• America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Concerts (November 20)
• America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade (November 21)
• Illuminate Thanksgiving Festival: “One Small Candle” Ceremony (November 22)
• Thanksgiving Festival Events (November 23-24)
Each of these magnificent gatherings leads up to the Illuminate Thanksgiving Main Event on November 25, 2020. Illuminate Thanksgiving is inspired by Governor William Bradford’s quote, “…as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled hath shone unto many…”
The Plymouth 400th anniversary celebration is LITERALLY a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity for students. The expert staff at Kaleidoscope Adventures will help you stake your claim as part of the festivities. Customize a trip to Plymouth or an itinerary around a total New England experience. Either way, it’s a moment in history not to be missed. Call 407-345-4899 to plan your travel beyond expectations!