“What did you do at work today?”
“Oh, you know, pounded iron.”
Working at Mystic Seaport definitely has its privileges. Having a bad day? Can’t seem to escape writer’s block? A visit to the Museum’s Shipsmith shop and a lesson with blacksmith Craig Hill quickly erases all worries. Emails, deadlines and meetings are long gone. Now, for a brief respite, it’s just the methodical pounding of iron, the twisting of molten metal and the practicing of tried and true 19th-century techniques.
Mystic Seaport’s James Driggs Shipsmith shop can be found in the heart of the Museum’s re-created village. Originally located in Mew Bedford, MA, the shop arrived at Mystic Seaport in 1944. It is the only manufactory of ironwork for the whaling industry known to have survived the 19th century.
Museum visitors can not only visit the shop and watch Craig in action, they can try their hand at the trade as well. Hands-On History returns in late June, giving everyone (not just lucky Museum employees like me!) the chance to hammer away on something other than a computer keyboard. And when you’re finished, you walk away with a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
Not too bad, huh? I think I just might quit my day job.
For more information about the Museum and its offerings, visit www.mysticseaport.org.