Since the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first Meetinghouse was built at the top of Leyden Street in Plymouth in 1621, a place of spiritual ministry has continued to this day. The Mayflower Meetinghouse (operated by the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse Charitable Trust) is the fifth spiritual structure built on this location and, in 2014, was added to both the National Register of Historic Places and the List of Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Resources.
From the time the General Society of Mayflower Descendants was founded in 1897, the same year the present structure was completed at the top of Leyden Street, families of descendants – our families – have made regular pilgrimages to this spot. In fact, our Mayflower descendants have helped to furnish this structure with Tiffany stained-glass windows from the New York and New Jersey Societies, objects in the sanctuary from the Fuller Society, as well as many other contributions through the years.
To save the building they love, the First Parish Church congregation, former owners of the Mayflower Meetinghouse, agreed to donate it to The Mayflower Society upon the condition that funds be put in place to permanently maintain it, and that they be allowed to continue scheduling their services there.
On Sunday, December 9th, 2018 the representatives of the First Parish Meetinghouse resigned from the Trust established to negotiate the transfer during an emotional service, thoughtfully titled “Forward Through the Ages” and led by Rev. Arthur Lavoie. The morning started with a warm welcome from Rev. Art, who introduced Woullard Lett, the Acting Regional Lead for the New England Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Members of the congregation shared a brief history of Meetinghouses to grace this hallowed spot since 1620, and warm, powerful remarks were made by Jan Blanchard – Chair of the Friends of First Parish Meetinghouse.
Future Plans: The Mayflower Society Education Center
The Mayflower Society will bring new life to Plymouth’s Town Square at the Mayflower Meetinghouse with an immersive and multi-media museum experience. The Meetinghouse will become a vessel that pours knowledge into all its visitors as it tells the important Mayflower story. The building itself is part of the story, with beautiful stained-glass windows that tell stories of the Pilgrims as they settled on this very location.
The sanctuary will become part of the story as it envelops visitors in a 360-degree experience. Then, an innovative and compelling group of interactive exhibits downstairs will assist in telling the story in a more personal way.
A gift shop will offer museum quality items for sale and a new entry annex will entertain as guests make their way into the building.
Public and Private Tours
Depending on CDC and stat of Massachusetts COVID recommendations, private tours are available for groups. Contact the Mayflower Society for up-to-date details on scheduling a group.
Take a Video Tour
Support the Meetinghouse
The current structure was funded back in 1896 by donations from across America, and The Mayflower Society would like to repeat this practice as it raises money to leave a legacy to America’s family, the Mayflower Pilgrims. Please consider a donation to help The Mayflower Society tell this important story for generations to come.