Four new exhibits launch at summer open house, June 23

Four major new exhibits open the summer season during a free admission Open House on Saturday, June 23 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The public event includes four combined grand openings, festivities, music, artists’ talks, and family activities museum-wide.

Several musical groups will be on hand throughout the afternoon to perform music associated with the global themes of the new exhibits. The New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus will perform traditional maritime favorites. The Jim Robitaille Trio, along with vocalist Lori Colombo, will present Brazilian Jazz accompanied by Jim Peterson on bass and Chris Poudrier on drums. The Napua O Polynesia Dance Troupe will include several authentic dancers, drummers and ukulele players.

Ongoing children’s activities will be offered in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Opening simultaneously, the four exhibits are titled  John Stobart – a Retrospective, Go a-whaling I mustA Voyage Around the World, and  A Man and His Journey – President Aristides Pereira.

John Stobart – A Retrospective is a broad cross-section of paintings, prints, and sketches drawn from an extensive body of work selected by the artist from throughout his career. John will be present at the opening and will talk in the gallery about his work.

John Stobart studied in England at the Derby College of Art and the prestigious Royal Academy Schools in London. Commissions from several shipping companies featured his paintings in their London boardrooms and on their annual calendars. John came to the U.S. with four paintings carefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, under his arm, and he has never looked back.

Over the past half-century he has built upon his interest in the maritime world and painting en plein air to build a body of work that many within the world of contemporary maritime arts find central to the genre.

His realistic style, capturing historic scenes of ports around the world, succeeds in large part through extensive research into the historic locations and vessels he paints. Stobart’s inspired work has reached broad audiences through exhibitions at maritime museums, several galleries, a large catalog of limited edition prints, and a series of paintings he created on a PBS television series. The retrospective closes September 30, 2012.

Go a-whaling I Must is a new exhibit in the Bourne Building, which presents whaling from the perspective of a new recruit. From your first encounter with whaling agent Jonathan Bourne (1811-1889) to your voyage’s end and your payout at the conclusion of the exhibit (and an imagined two-year voyage between) you’ll encounter the men, materiel, and activities aboard a typical whaling vessel like the museum’s iconic half-scale Lagoda.

Drawing from the Museum’s immense collections, the exhibit demonstrates the dangers of going to sea to do battle with the world’s largest animals. From “Thar she blows!” to “Homeward Bound,” all of the hard work, skill and bravery required by a New Bedford whaler will come to life!

After years away how much would you be paid? How about Jonathan Bourne who you met at the outset? You might be surprised what your final take will be. Michael P. Dyer, Maritime Curator, will speak in the exhibit areas with visitors during the open house

A Voyage Around the World is a new exhibit which continues on the global voyage from the new Azorean Whaleman Gallery and Cape Verdean Maritime Exhibit. Grab your passport and experience a new world encountered by New Bedford whalers.

Voyages connected world cultures through commerce and helped establish American influence in far-flung ports. Through both commercial activity and crewmen enlisting and disembarking, these voyages set in place the initial patterns of immigration.

The exhibit is a wide sampling of the diverse cultures encountered, with a focus on Brazil, California, Hawaii, and Alaska where the influence of Portuguese crew and their legacy become clear.

New Bedford whalemen returned home with exotic items from the many Pacific Islands including the lush Galapagos, Marquesas, and beyond to Fiji, and Samoa. The exhibit combines art, artifacts and ethnographic objects representative of these cultures as well as 19th century and early 20th century illustrations, sea charts, prints, logbooks, and journals to create a powerful and evocative interpretation of the Portuguese experience in the Yankee whale fishery as it encountered diverse communities.

A Man and His Journey is a traveling photo tribute exhibit that tells the remarkable story of Aristides Pereira (1923 – 2011), first President of the Republic of Cape Verde, after the former Portuguese colony achieved independence in 1975. The exhibit is guest curated by Ronald Barboza, a Cape Verdean American photographer who chronicled the late leader’s life for decades.

Pereira was a frequent visitor to New Bedford and its large Cape Verdean community. A year after Cape Verdean independence in 1976, on the occasion of the bicentennial of American independence, Pereira presented the vessel Ernestina to the “people of the United States” to symbolize the strong historical and cultural connections between New Bedford and the island nation. In 1983, he became the first head of state to visit the Whaling Museum. “A Man and His Journey” closes August 12, 2012.

The exhibitions are generously supported by: The Kenneth T. & Mildred S. Gammons Charitable Foundation, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Foundation, Tauck’s World of Giving, Boston Marine Society, Nye Lubricants, Inc., and John Matouk & Co.

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