Visual Arts





New Wells Boat Hall to Be Unveiled in 2025

Pieter Nicholson Roos Appointed Curator 

Generous Support Provided By Stan and Nancy Wells

Interior Concepts for the Wells Boat Hall by Cambridge Seven. Image credit to Mystic Seaport Museum.


Mystic, CT. [June 28, 2024]Mystic Seaport Museum is pleased to announce the establishment of the Wells Boat Hall to exhibit the American Watercraft Collection, an estimated $15 million renovation to convert a section of the historic Rossie Mill—currently used as a storage facility—into a dynamic, publicly accessible, exhibition hall highlighting the Museum’s collection of historic small boats. The exhibition, curated by longtime cultural institutional leader Pieter Nicholson Roos, will capture the progression of American nautical innovation, showcasing the unique social history of each vessel and revealing the scope of the extensive collection to the public for the first time.  

“We are delighted to bring the American Watercraft Collection out of storage and into the public eye for our visitors and supporters,” says Peter Armstrong, President and CEO of Mystic Seaport Museum. “This renovation not only increases the size of our accessible campus but also allows us to unravel the stories that lie within these amazing vessels.”

The Wells Boat Hall will exhibit over 100 vessels, seldom seen by the public in the last 40 years. Estimated to be the largest and the most diverse small craft and engine collection in the world, the exhibition will feature the first vessel acquired by the Museum, Annie, a 1931 sandbagger, and will span 182 years from an indigenous dugout canoe to a modern-day Mini Transat racer. The public will be invited to engage in the stories of vessels in the collection from labor to leisure, from adventure to commerce, and beyond. Stories will include the Analuisa, a fishing boat used by Cuban refugees to escape to Florida in the summer of 1994, and Tango, the first boat pedaled across the Atlantic and holding the record as the fastest human-powered transatlantic crossing, completed in 40 days, pedaled by Connecticut resident Dwight Collins.

Archival image of Rossie Mill. Image credit to Mystic Seaport Museum.

Located on the corner of Rossie Pentway and Greenmanville Avenue, and directly opposite the Museum’s Thompson Exhibition Building, the Wells Boat Hall will be housed in the historic Rossie Mill, built in 1898 as a velvet factory and once the largest employer in Mystic. The 35,000 square-foot warehouse will be renovated to include a new and ADA-compliant visitor entrance with a columned canopy, a new roof reflecting design typical of New England mill towers, and a fully integrated exhibition space. The renovation will allow the Museum to care for and exhibit the watercraft and related artifacts in an environment that showcases their importance and maintains their legacy while maintaining this historic building. The Wells Boat Hall will also double as a flexible community space for lectures and presentations, as well as new educational programs initiated by the American Institute of Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport Museum.  

Pieter Nicholson Roos has been appointed the Wells Boat Hall Exhibition Curator and will curate the exhibit. Roos, the former director of the Mark Twain House and Museum and a strategic advisor on climate change, will provide his decades of experience in preservation and maritime expertise.

“It’s with great excitement that I join Mystic Seaport Museum in unveiling its cherished collection to the public after years in storage,” shared Roos. “With the launch of the Wells Boat Hall, we will allow visitors to embark on a journey through time, finding their own connections to the array of stories on view and ensuring that these historic boats are preserved and remain in our contemporary consciousness.”

The American Watercraft Collection housed in the Wells Boat Hall, named after local residents and longtime Museum Trustees Stan and Nancy Wells, is scheduled to open to the public in the fall of 2025.

About Mystic Seaport Museum  

Mystic Seaport Museum is the nation’s leading maritime Museum. Founded in 1929 to gather and preserve the rapidly disappearing artifacts of America’s seafaring past, the Museum has grown to become a national center for research and education with the mission to “inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience.” The Museum’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut, and include a recreated New England coastal village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. The Museum is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whaleship CHARLES W. MORGAN. For more information, please visit and follow the Museum on FacebookXYouTube, and Instagram. 


Media Contacts:  

For images, further background or interviews, please contact: 


Katrina Stewart 

Senior Account Coordinator, Visual Arts 

Blue Medium 

T: +1-212-675-1800  


Sophia Matsas 

Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Mystic Seaport Museum
T: +1-860-572-5317