New at Plimoth Patuxet: We Gather Together

Thanksgiving, Gratitude and the Making of an American Holiday

October 22, 2021     Behind the Pines

Plimoth Patuxet Museum is known as the “Thanksgiving Museum”. Following the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims arrival in 1620, it’s only natural that Plimoth Patuxet commemorates 400 years since that first harvest feast in 1621, and the history of Thanksgiving in America. A new exhibit – We Gather Together: Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and the Making of an American Holiday tells the whole story. From the events leading to that first meal, to the national recognition of the holiday, to the food, traditions and more. You can experience it now through Thanksgiving of 2022. And visit often, the exhibit will feature pop-ups throughout the year expanding the story to some of our more modern traditions. (Think football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!)

We’re happy to be among the sponsors of this new exhibit, and we got a preview… that means, so do you!

1621. How it started.

The history of Thanksgiving starts before 1621, before the celebrated harvest. The Wampanoag and the English have unimaginable tragedy in common, and it becomes the foundation for an alliance that culminates with the three-day harvest feast in 1621.

The Spirit of Gratitude

At the root of it all is gratitude. From families gathering together for Thanksgiving dinner, to its representation in art, the holiday is always about giving thanks.

As Pinehills resident, and Plimoth Patuxet Trustee, Darice Wareham, explains, “as we emerge from this pandemic, I think back to the pandemic of 400 years ago which, in the prior years, had decimated the Wampanoag people, and then in 1620-1621, took the lives of half the Mayflower passengers. That first Thanksgiving was in part a celebration of the harvest and in part a day for showing gratitude. Gratitude may be the biggest lesson the museum teaches.”

1941. How we got here.

Thanksgiving has been a New England tradition for centuries, but did you know that Sarah Josepha Hale is the godmother of America’s Thanksgiving? And, it wasn’t until 1941 that Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

The Food. Yes, there are Pumpkins.

Our fall obsession with all things pumpkin may feel modern. We assure you it’s not. Pumpkin has played a starring role on our harvest menus for over 400 years.

More at Plimoth Patuxet

Speaking of pumpkin …pie… Plimoth Patuxet is hosting the The Great New England Pumpkin Pie Contest. There’s nothing like a homemade pumpkin pie! Find contest details here!

Take a savory journey into the past at a New England Harvest Feast which includes entertainment and singing. We’ve been – it’s a great night of fun and food. Tickets are still available.

Plimoth Patuxet presents the national premier of the Smithsonian Channel documentary, "Behind the Holiday: The First Thanksgiving."

Sat, November 20, 2021, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST at the Linn Theater, Plimoth Patuxet Museums' Visitor Center

The film features guided by interviews with curators and experts, including Wampanoag tribal historians, and explores the authentic origins of the holiday.

Purchase tickets here

Because of members there will always be a future for the past at Plimoth Patuxet.

In the spirit of community, residents of Plymouth can enjoy a Plymouth Resident Membership. Don’t live in Plymouth? You can still become a member.

Our neighbors at The Pinehills embrace many opportunities to get involved in the Plymouth community and they volunteer in force at Plimoth Patuxet. So can you. You don’t have to be a historian to join the volunteer program at Plimoth Patuxet!

Darice Wareham has been a trustee at Plimoth Patuxet for more than 10 years. She’s served in many roles but tells us, "my real love for the museum is much broader and that is to continue and widen the museum’s ability to tell the rich and diverse story of the two cultures that met, and lived, and sometimes clashed with each other. The story we tell goes far beyond the Thanksgiving stereotype that people have of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It teaches a story of perseverance and adaptation.”

Volunteer opportunities for 2022 will be posted soon.

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