Maritime Museum hosts Maritime Mystery Challenge this weekend
Maritime Museum of San Diego, home to a world-class collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats, and submarines, each offering entertaining and educational exhibits, embraces the profound and puzzling mystery behind the 282-ton brigantine Mary Celeste, famed as the ghost ship abandoned in 1872 — leaving researchers and maritime history buffs unable to solve how the vessel’s captain and crew went missing, with no signs of fire, explosion or other incidents. Theories as to why the ship was abandoned range from crew mutiny, to conspiracy, to alien abduction, natural disaster or an alcohol explosion.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Victorian author and acclaimed creator of fiction’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, was called in to solve the mystery and was unable to – the only mystery he never solved. For this new Maritime Museum of San Diego experience, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will return to the Mary Celeste (played by one of the Museum’s award-winning Living History education staff) to greet young visitors, guide them around the schooner Californian, a tall ship looking very similar to the Mary Celeste, to examine the evidence, and for help in solving the mystery that stymied him a century and a half ago. Visits to the Ghost ship Halloween-weekend experience are free and included with general admission ticket purchase.
According to Raymond Ashley, Ph.D., K.C.I., President/CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, “Mary Celeste was an American brigantine which bears some resemblance to the Maritime Museum’s Californian. After departing New York for Genoa, the Mary Celeste was found completely abandoned and adrift off the Azores under partial sail in disheveled condition, the ship’s lifeboat gone, various evidence of a hasty departure, though no log or other written evidence of what happened could be found.” He adds enthusiastically, “We thought this would be a great opportunity to tap into the creativity and imaginations our visitors have and enjoy some good fun at the same time.”
Still a mystery today, the Maritime Museum of San Diego invites young visitors 12 and under to solve the Mary Celeste mystery Halloween weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 29, 30 and 31, 2021. Visitors to the Museum, open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., will have the opportunity to board the official tall ship of the state, Californian, to learn from one of the Museum’s resident storytellers, and uncover clues before making their contest entry at the Museum Gift Shop located on the steam ferry Berkeley.
The Museum’s curatorial team will be judging entries for the contest and one lucky winner will be announced before Thanksgiving. The winner will receive a Maritime Museum of San Diego Tall Ship Adventure 4-hour Sail experience for four, valued at $400.00. Tall Ship adventure sails aboard the schooner Californian are a unique opportunity to sail San Diego Bay aboard a replica of the gold rush era revenue cutter. Guests aboard may haul a line, man the helm, and watch the sail crew scamper up and down the rigging to set and furl the sails. Crew and docents aboard will share the history of sailing and exploration in San Diego, tales of whaling and sea otter trade, local sea battles, and the art of ships gunnery.
General admission tickets are $20.00 for adults, seniors 62+, military with ID, and students age 13-17 are $15.00, and children 12 and under are $10.00. Space is limited. Tickets can be reserved early at sdmaritime.org or in-person at the Museum Ticket Booth or Gift Shop. The Ticket Booth and Gift Shop close at 4:00 p.m.