The countdown is underway to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.

A year-long commemoration is set for 2020 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and throughout the state.

Forefathers Monument to illustrate Plymouth 400
National Monument to the Forefathers, Plymouth, Mass.
Credit: Hawk Visuals, Courtesy of Plymouth 400, Inc.

Plymouth 400, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2009 to lead the planning and execution of the programs and events commemorating the milestone. The commemoration will highlight the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples.

“The story of 1620 is complex with multiple perspectives, but is one which is relevant now more than ever,” said Michele Pecoraro, executive director of Plymouth 400, Inc. “The way the story is being told is different than past commemorations because each of the four nations involved are at the table together for the first time. 

“The cultural contributions and traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples have significantly shaped the building of America but until now, this complex story was told from a narrow perspective,” she said. “For the first time, the Native voice is included and the fact that the story begins with the indigenous people who had lived on this continent for thousands of years and are still here today.”

One of Plymouth 400’s Signature Events, the Wampanoag Ancestors Walk, is scheduled for Aug. 1, 2020, in Plymouth.

The Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts will lead the walk. Participants will pay homage to Massasoit and King Phillip and stop at designated sites to bless the spots where Wampanoag ancestors walked.

Plymouth 400, Inc.

Plimoth Plantation

One of Plymouth’s can’t-miss attractions is Plimoth Plantation. The living history museum tells the interwoven stories of two distinct cultures — English and Wampanoag.

“Plimoth Plantation is proud to be a part of the commemorations and celebrations across the commonwealth and the nation in 2020,” said Ellie Donovan, executive director at Plimoth Plantation. “Massachusetts is the birthplace of the United States, and Mayflower represents our ongoing American experiment in self-government. Everyone involved feels honored to be the keepers of the flame of this part of our nation’s history.”

Wampanoag Homesite at Plimoth Plantation to illustrate Plymouth 400
Wampanoag Homesite, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Mass.
Credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The Pilgrims landed in Provincetown Harbor, where they signed the Mayflower Compact, before sailing on to Plymouth.

Mayflower II, Plimoth Plantation’s full-scale reproduction of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to Massachusetts, will serve as the centerpiece of the 400th anniversary programs. The vessel is currently being restored.

Visitors can look forward to boarding the ship once again in Plymouth, and plans are underway for sails to Boston and Provincetown in 2020. Mayflower II’s schedule is subject to change due to maritime and other conditions. 

Beyond Mayflower II, groups visiting the plantation can explore Plimoth Grist Mill, Wampanoag Homesite and 17th-Century English Village and Craft Center exhibits. Groups with a specific interest, such as period cookery, Native culture or timber-frame construction, may book a specialized speaker or reserve a guided tour. Historical-themed dining experiences are available.

Plimoth Plantation

The Official Plymouth 400th Anniversary Tour

Plymouth 400, Inc., has coordinated an official group tour itinerary with Tour Trends Ltd., the official tour operator of Plymouth 400.

Highlights include:

• An orientation tour of Boston
• Present-day Plymouth and Leyden Street
• Plimoth Plantation
• Pilgrim Hall Museum
• A tour of Provincetown
• Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum

Tour Trends Ltd.