Maryland Public Television (MPT) will premiere its original documentary Discovering the Dove on Tuesday, April 18 at 8 p.m. during its 19th annual Chesapeake Bay Week®. The half-hour film will debut on MPT-HD and will be available to view live and on-demand using MPT’s livestream, online video player, and the PBS App.
In Discovering the Dove, the centuries-old story of Maryland’s founding enters a new chapter as a team of shipbuilders endeavor to recreate a 17th century British colonial ship by following a trail of historical clues.
In November 1633, two ships – the Ark and the Dove – set sail from the Isle of Wight in England, embarking on a grueling 3000-mile journey across the Atlantic. Aboard, some 140 passengers awaited a new life in an unknown world. Their destination was a stretch of land near the mouth of the great Potomac River, on the ancestral homeland of the Piscataway and Yaocomico people. But the colonists would christen the land St. Mary’s City, the first capital of the new British colony of Maryland.
Viewers will join historians and craftspeople in unraveling the mystery of what the 17th century ship might have looked like, discovering clues in passenger diaries, period artwork, and sunken ships. The audience will visit the shipyard at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and watch as this new Maryland Dove takes shape using local materials such as white oak from the Callahan family farm in Talbot County and authentic shipbuilding processes such as 17th century joinery techniques. Finally, viewers will accompany the crew of the new vessel for her maiden voyage across the Bay to Historic St. Mary’s City – a journey that highlights just how much we can discover about the past through recreating it.
“We’ve been following construction on the new Maryland Dove since the very first timber was laid in 2019 and it’s been amazing to watch the ship come together over the years,” says MPT producer Stefanie Robey. “I think what I find most fascinating about this project is that it’s essentially a historical mystery. What did the Dove of 1634 actually look like? How did it sail? In Discovering the Dove, viewers will see clues from the past come together in order to answer some of those questions.”
An encore presentation of Discovering the Dove will air on MPT-HD at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, the final day of MPT’s 2023 Chesapeake Bay Week observance. For more information, visit mpt.org/bayweek.