On Tuesday, April 18 at 8 p.m., Maryland Public Television (MPT) will debut its original documentary Discovering the Dove as part of its 19th annual Chesapeake Bay Week®. The half-hour film will air on MPT-HD and will also be available for live and on-demand viewing using MPT’s live stream, online video player, and the PBS App.
Discovering the Dove explores the centuries-old story of Maryland’s founding as a team of shipbuilders attempts to recreate a 17th-century British colonial ship by following historical clues. In November 1633, the Ark and the Dove set sail from the Isle of Wight in England, carrying approximately 140 passengers who were looking for a new life in an unknown world. They landed on the ancestral homeland of the Piscataway and Yaocomico people, near the mouth of the Potomac River. They named the land St. Mary’s City the first capital of the new British colony of Maryland.
The documentary features historians and craftspeople as they work to unravel the mystery of what the 17th-century ship might have looked like, using clues from passenger diaries, period artwork, and sunken ships. The audience will also visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum shipyard to witness the construction of the new Maryland Dove, which is being built using local materials such as white oak from the Callahan family farm in Talbot County, as well as authentic 17th-century joinery techniques.
MPT producer Stefanie Robey says, “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. 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 to answer some of those questions.”
The documentary culminates in the maiden voyage of the new vessel across the Bay to Historic St. Mary’s City, showcasing just how much can be discovered about the past through recreating it.
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.