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Mystic Seaport to remain open this winter

Mystic — For the first time in four years, Mystic Seaport will be open to visitors during the first six weeks of the year.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the museum will be open each week from Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. That schedule will continue through March 26 when the museum will resume its daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule through Oct. 30.

The museum had implemented the closure in 2012 because of low attendance during the those weeks.

But with the recent opening of a major new exhibit on longitude and the scheduled opening of the new $11.5 million Thompson Exhibit Building in 2016, the Seaport is seeking to transform itself into more of a year-round attraction.

Open during the early winter will be the 10 exhibit halls at the north end of the campus where the Thompson building is being constructed, the children’s museum, whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, the planetarium and membership building.

There will also be tours of the Morgan and the Mayflower II, which will be back in the shipyard this winter for its ongoing restoration.

The village and shipyard, along with tall ships such as the Joseph Conrad and L.A. Dutton, will not be open to visitors.

Seaport President Steve White said the decision to reopen during the first six weeks of the year is part of the museum’s strategic plan to become known as a year-round destination.

“When we made the decision to construct a new exhibit building, one of the key factors we considered was how we could maximize the potential of this large campus so we have more visitors in all seasons,” he said.

White said the north end of the museum, which will be anchored by the Thompson building, will provide an excellent indoor experience with short walks between the buildings.

“Its a strategy to bring more people to the museum at a time when we have had little business,” he said.

White said the new indoor experience coupled with the traditional summertime experience in the village and along the docks, now offers “two different views of how we relate to the public.”

j.wojtas@theday.com

Twitter: @joewojtas

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