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Waxing Nostalgic With the Pilgrims
Plymouth, MA
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Plymouth Wax Museum 1

Yiiikes! Those founding fathers were scary people. We start out the door in the gift shop, then enter a turnstile near this figure. The Plymouth Wax Museum is jut $6 for adults, a reasonable fee to see tons of figures.



Plymouth Wax Museum 2

The self guided tour takes visitors through a couple dozen scenes from the early life of the Mayflower "Saints" during their emigration to Massachusetts in 1620. Here the religious cult of Separatists are aboard their ship, shunned by every country they visit. Visitors progress from one tableaux to the next, some with audio narration. As stiff as the figures look here, they presentation is actually lifelike. Not Disney, of course, but the scenes are well designed and help us imagine the bleak Pilgrim life.



Plymouth Wax Museum 3

Plymouth fans get a kick out of knowing that the Pilgrims REALLY landed first on Cape Cod near Provincetown. This detail shows women washing clothes on a bleak November day during that layover. We didn't see any No Photography signs and there were no guides or docents on the tour which wanders up and down three floors in the building. We're not sure of the date, but were told this was one of the earliest museums using Dofrman figures. The presentation feels like it hasn't changed for fifty years, but we liked it all the same. A great simple low-tech tour for kids. The only animated figure we saw was a drunken figure that snores while his stomach goes up and down - very low tech and an almost 19th century museum design.



Plymouth Wax Museum 4

Things went so badly that most of the original founders died of starvation and disease in the first year. In order to hide their dwindling numbers from Native Americans, the Mayflower settlers buried their dead at night. It was, of course, the intervention of Indians that allowed any settlers to survive. And, of course, there was that visit by New Hampshire's first settler David Thompson in 1623. (See Turkeygate)



Plymouth Wax Museum 5

Those spots are rain which pours in a single sheet from the roof area as the boat rocks. Here the Pilgrims land on a plaster duplicate of the famous one just a few yards away at the Plymouth waterfront. Tacky as it may be, the scenes got us thinking about what life must have been like in early New Hampshire - and that kind of thinking is always good.



Plymouth Wax Museum 6

Inevitably we end up, as always, in the gift shop. This one is heavily stocked with every Native American and Pilgrim item you could imagine, some horribly corny - and thus a lot of fun. A kid could go crazy here trying to spend his $5. Rubber snake or a rubber knife? To see the kind of Plymouth souvenirs people have been buying here for the last 100 years, click to our next section.


Photos and text by J. Dennis Robinson
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