Some big changes could be in the works in Mystic at its impressive Mystic Seaport Museum. For visitors and locals alike, it is a Connecticut gem.
“It’s an outstanding place,” said Craig Hutula of Tolland. “It’s idyllic.”
“It’s wonderful,” said Beth Arp, who was visiting from New York. “It shows everything that it used to be and then they have all the people that are trained to tell you about it.”
While the maritime museum is anchored in heritage, its president said he wants to make sure it continues to be relevant.
“We can’t just be one-dimensional, not solely about the past but also making the present much more relevant to that history,” explained President and CEO Steve White.
The proposed plan, which is in the conceptual phase, calls for the demolition of Latitude 41° Restaurant and Tavern along Route 27 and the construction of a hotel and event space.
“The Greenwich Hospitality Group is building a building that will provide both a boutique hotel experience as well as fine dining on the river,” White said.
White said the plan also calls for an underwater research and education center to make the learning experience even more hands-on.
“If you can imagine a ROV in the Pacific Ocean on certain coral reefs and then beaming all that via satellite right here to mystic seaport museum for school groups to witness.”
While people said they can appreciate a vision for something more modern, they said they hope the museum holds on to its charm.
“We’ve gone to some places that are historic, but they’ve been updated with technology and it makes it more engaging,” said Hutula.
“They still have to keep it the old-fashioned,” said Arp. “I mean they have plenty of hotels here.”
According to museum officials, the proposal to the Town of Stonington was submitted on Thursday. If approved, construction on the hotel and restaurant would begin next year.