PLYMOUTH — A penny may seem like a drop in the ocean toward completing Plimoth Plantation’s multi-million dollar restoration of the iconic Mayflower II, but every cent matters for this historic multi-year project.

One of the living history museum’s major exhibits, the iconic reproduction 17th-century sailing vessel was built in Brixham, England in 1955-56. It was intended as a gift from the people of the United Kingdom to the people of the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II. “Project Mayflower,” as it was known at the time, was funded by investors and individuals, including families and schoolchildren across the UK.

Today, the ship is being fully restored at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut as part of Illuminate The Past, Inspire The Future: The Campaign for Plimoth Plantation. This $20.20 million fundraising campaign supports several important infrastructure projects, the largest being the work on Mayflower II. The museum has received contributions totaling $14 million of the overall $20.20 goal and seeks to complete fundraising by Dec. 31, 2019. Approximately $3 million remains to be raised for Mayflower II project which includes the restoration work and the establishment of a maintenance reserve fund for the ship for the future.

Inspired by the grassroots efforts of schoolchildren, Mayflower descendant societies, and small businesses who have collected change to donate to Mayflower II’s restoration, Plimoth Plantation will expand the Pennies for Planks program developed by Mary Brown, governor of the Connecticut Society of Mayflower Descendants. The Museum invites teachers and students across the country to incorporate this easy and accessible initiative into lesson plans covering American history, the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, the Mayflower Compact and Mayflower. Pennies for Planks offers children the opportunity to become personally connected to the story of the Mayflower, a symbol of hope, freedom and courage. Contributions of even one penny will have a tangible impact, demonstrating the power of many people working together for a common goal.

Pennies for Planks also makes a point-of-sale program for small businesses who contribute to the restoration of this national icon. For families, it is a great opportunity to talk about the story of the Native people and Pilgrims’ with their children during this Thanksgiving season.

Schools, or individual classrooms or grades, that collect change for Mayflower and send it to Plimoth Plantation will receive a special video thank you from the Captain of the Mayflower.

Pennies for Planks is easy to get involved with. Simply begin collecting change in the classroom, business, group or family. It may be helpful to set a goal amount or timeframe for collecting a contribution. Once the goal is reached, trade pennies in and submit the contribution via check to Plimoth Plantation. Include in the memo “Pennies for Planks” as well as a return name and address for a formal acknowledgement of your tax-deductible gift.

Donations can also be made online at https://plimoth.givingfuel.com/the-campaign-for-plimoth-plantation. Be sure to select the “Pennies for Planks” option to ensure that the contribution counts toward this initiative.

For more information, email pr@plimoth.org.