Seaport Celebrates Thompson Opening

CENTERBROOK, Conn. – Mystic Seaport has entered a new era with the opening of the transformative Thompson Exhibition Building.

Designed by Centerbrook Architects & Planners, the Thompson Building is a state-of-the-art exhibition space that enables the nation’s leading maritime museum to become a premiere tourism and education destination in southeastern Connecticut on a year-around basis.

Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 14,000-square-foot riverside facility in Mystic, Connecticut, marked the conclusion of nearly three years of design and implementation of the project for Centerbrook partner Chad Floyd, a resident of nearby Essex.

“Mystic Seaport wanted a building iconic in appearance and cutting-edge in exhibition capability,” Floyd said. “At Centerbrook it’s a great point of pride to design buildings that are emblematic of client identity yet functional to an exceptional level.”

Noticeable for striking design that evokes the “geometry of the sea,” the Thompson Building creates a prominent point of arrival on the north end of campus for visitors with a welcoming lobby for ticketing and information. A/Z Corporation of nearby North Stonington was the construction manager for the wood-clad facility which features a picturesque riverfront meeting space known as the Masin Room. Additionally, a beautiful red cedar and mahogany deck spans the south side of the building that frames the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle and provides a scenic place to rest or congregate, and will be an integral part of performances and functions on the quad for years to come.

“The opening of the Thompson Exhibition Building is the culmination of many years of work and the fulfillment of a vision to focus on the display of our collections in ways we have never been able to do before,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “This increase in our exhibition capacity creates a more robust year-round experience for the visitor, which makes this project not just an investment in the future of Mystic Seaport, but also an investment in the future of tourism for the entire region.”

The Thompson Building is one of three cultural design projects for Centerbrook in southeastern Connecticut along with expansions at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford and at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.