The Haunted Whale Ship, Oct. 26

David Brownell and Lucy Bly appear as Capt. Ahab and Hetty Green at "The Haunted Whale Ship," Saturday, Oct. 26.

David Brownell and Lucy Bly appear as Capt. Ahab and Hetty Green at “The Haunted Whale Ship,” Saturday, Oct. 26.

Set sail on The Haunted Whale Ship, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s family-friendly Halloween event, geared for children 12 and under and their parents on Saturday, October 26, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the century-old museum in a new (dim) light and meet ghosts from New Bedford’s seafaring past. The not-too scary fun includes a costume contest, haunted scavenger hunt, arts & crafts activities, spooky stories & tours, refreshments, and more.

In partnership with members of the New Bedford Preservation Society, a few notable spirits of Old Dartmouth and New Bedford will roam museum galleries and greet visitors with tales of long-ago. Reenactors will also include museum docents, staff and high school apprentices with special apparitions of Hetty Green – “The Witch of Wall Street” – played by Lucy Bly, and of Deborah Doubleday – innkeeper during the 1778 burning of Bedford Village – played Judy Roderiques. David Brownell rises as Captain Ahab.

Tickets are required in advance: $3 for children 12 and under; $5 for all others. Call (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Whaling History Symposium, Oct. 19-20

"Bark Stafford, Outward Bound" painted by Clifford W. Ashley in 1926 recalls the heyday of the New Bedford Port District, the focus of the 37th Whaling History Symposium, October 19-20 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. (New Bedford Whaling Museum collection)

“Bark Stafford, Outward Bound” painted by Clifford W. Ashley in 1926 recalls the heyday of the New Bedford Port District, the focus of the 37th Whaling History Symposium, October 19-20 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. (New Bedford Whaling Museum collection)

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is pleased to announce the program for its 37th Whaling History Symposium, to be held at the Museum on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, 2013.

This year’s theme is the interdependence and integration of various communities and commercial interests in the New Bedford Port District and their relation to the whaling industry that was the main economic focus of the region. Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, will open the session with an overview history of the District and its “Outports,” the galaxy of seacoast towns lying between Cape Cod and Rhode Island that shared with New Bedford and Fairhaven the risks and prosperity of the whaling industry, and suffered together in its decline. Next up, Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr., one of America’s most celebrated ship modelers and a former curator at the Whaling Museum, will present “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction,” describing the unique features of whaleship models and the challenges of building them, and will provide a systematic examination of their value as historical documents, sublime aesthetic byproducts of local seafaring, and relics that pay homage to a unique maritime heritage. Mr. Ronnberg will be followed by Judith N. Lund, also a former curator of the Museum, to introduce the current exhibition “The Art of the Ship Model,” which she co-curated with J. Michael Wall.

Following a break for lunch, New Bedford historian and publicist Arthur P. Motta will speak about “Lighthouses of New Bedford” and their integration into the fabric of The Life and Times of the Whaling Capital, one of the nation’s greatest seaports. Arthur has long been involved in the preservation of New Bedford’s three extant lighthouses. This will be expanded upon by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus, with “Beacons and Blubber: The Amos Baker Family and four generations of whaling, lighthouses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting,” a pictorial extravaganza that delves deep into museum collections to explore the unusual history of this exemplary family of lighthouse keepers and whaling captains.  Capping the all-day plenary sessions will be Dr. Alfred H. Saulniers, economist and noted local historian, addressing “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910,” a little-known but crucial component community of participants in the city’s great Age of Sail.  To close out the day, Dr. Frank will introduce another current exhibition, “Harbor Views,” which focuses on visions of the estuary, waterfronts, and waterborne traffic by some of the most proficient and expressive local artists, from William Bradford and Albert Van Beest to L.D. Eldred and Clifford Ashley.

 Scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 a.m. is an optional field excursion: a harbor tour and special close-up narrated cruise around the port’s three historic lighthouses. Tour seating is limited.

 The Whaling History Symposium, first established in 1975, brings scholars, collectors, armchair historians, and interested nautical enthusiasts to New Bedford from all over the country and abroad, to share interests in maritime history, nautical lore, and the many intriguing facets of whaling heritage worldwide. This year’s Symposium focuses on the home port, whose name was “known in every seaport on the globe.”

 Registration: $50 for members and $65 for non-members (includes lunch and admission to all museum galleries) by October 17. Optional Lighthouse Harbor Tour, $25 additional. To register, call the Admissions Desk: (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org

 The Whaling History Symposium is sponsored in part by the Samuel D. Rusitzky Fund.

SCHEDULE

 All Saturday Symposium events, including registration, plenary sessions, coffee break, and lunch, take place in the Jacobs Family Gallery and Cook Memorial Theater. The Sunday component is a boat trip on the Acushnet River, reserved in advance. Museum galleries are open daily to all registrants. A Symposium discount room rate is available at the New Bedford Fairfield Inn and Suites.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

 

9:00 a.m. – Registration & coffee

 10:00 a.m. – Welcome & Opening Remarks

 10:15 a.m. – “The entire business of the place is the whale fishery”: Specialization and Management in the New Bedford Port District, 1789-1884. – presented by Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 11:15 a.m. – “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction” – presented by Erik A. R. Ronnberg, Jr., ship model artist and historian; former Associate Curator of Maritime History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 12:15 p.m. – Introducing “The Art of the Ship Model” Exhibition – presented by Judith Navas Lund, Curator Emerita, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 12:30 a.m. – Luncheon, Jacobs Family Gallery.

 2:00 p.m. – Lighthouses of New Bedford. – presented by Arthur P. Motta, Director, Marketing & Communications, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 3:00 p.m. – “Beacons and Blubber: The Baker Family and four generations of whaling, light­houses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting, 1825-1940” –  presented by Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D., Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 4:00 p.m – “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910” – presented by Alfred H. Saulniers, Ph.D., Economist and Historian, New Bedford.

5:00 p.m. – Introducing the “Harbor Views” Exhibition. – presented by Stuart M. Frank.

 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20

Optional Field Trip – narrated by Arthur P. Motta: a tour of New Bedford harbor (weather/seas permitting), with a sail past Palmer Island Light (1849), Butler Flats Light Station (1898), and Clark’s Point Light (1869). Morning departure at 10:30 a.m. aboard the harbor tour boat, Acushnet, from Fisherman’s Wharf, returning in time for lunch on your own on shore. Seating is limited.

Building a Transformative Experience

Trustees select Mount Vernon Group Architects to design the new Educational Center and Research Library

The Board of Trustees enthusiastically selected Mount Vernon Group Architects to design the new Educational Center and Research Library on Johnny Cake Hill. Groundbreaking is slated for spring 2014. Preliminary sketches reveal the character of the Johnny Cake Hill, Water Street and Union Street facades. The building will connect to the existing Museum campus and be constructed in a site left vacant since the devastating gas explosion of 1977. The building will house new classrooms, a digital Reading Room, climate controlled spaces for collections, a laboratory for the flagship Apprenticeship Program and the Casa dos Botes. The 4th floor will encompass a multi-use assembly area with majestic views of the New Bedford Harbor. The $6 million construction project has 80% of funds committed.

View from Johnny Cake Hill

View from Water St

View from Union St.

Established in 1954, Mount Vernon Group is an award-winning designer of educational buildings. MVG’s local ties and proven record of designing customized educational spaces, as well as its understanding of the Museum’s educational goals, make it the ideal choice to design the space that will transform the Museum and prepare it for the next 100 years.

For more information on the Campaign to Build the Educational Center and Research Library, please contact Alison Smart, Senior Director of Development, at (508) 717-6815. View from Johnny Cake Hill View from Water Street View from Union Street

From the Vault: Journal Kept Onboard the Newport’s 1892 Voyage

Every piece in the Library has its own unique story to tell, and we invite you to look at a few of the thousands of materials and hear their tales through the Museum’s “From the Vault”, a new digital exhibit featuring different treasures from the Library.

In 1978, Mr. and Mrs. George Bodfish donated to the Research Library a collection of manuscripts and photographs relating to Hartson Hartlett Bodfish (1862 – 1945), a captain of thirteen Western Arctic whaling voyages during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This donation also came with several logbooks and journals penned by Bodfish himself that document his whaling exploits. One of these journals contains a partial account of the Newport’s 1892 – 1898 whaling voyage. The journal begins on August 21, 1893 and represents an important chapter of American whaling history.

The rest of the story.

The Challenge of Choosing Apprentices

Our high school apprenticeship program connects us to New Bedford juniors and seniors with college aspirations who want to learn more about themselves and their city. Many of these students will be the first ones in their families to go to college.  They are eager to work in an environment in which they are treated like young professionals, are given the opportunity to interact with a variety of educators and experts, and, of course, get paid.

Several weeks ago we began to advertise for new applicants. Notice of the program openings went to all three high schools in the City, to the Standard-Times, to WFHN and WBSM, to NB Public Access Cable and on our blog. Current and past apprentices also spread the word.  The response was very strong. Fifty seven applications were received by our deadline of September 25.  Of these 57, we will only be able to hire four new apprentices.  These new students will bring us to our full complement of twelve apprentices, seven of whom started in July.

This week, during the after school hours, we have been conducting interviews and will do so all week. After reading their answers to the questions on the application, checking their eligibility in relation to receiving free or reduced lunch and reviewing their transcripts, we opted to call 19 students to interview. We have been impressed with the students we have met, and have no doubt that we will be impressed with the students who will come in today and tomorrow after school.

It is no small task to choose four new apprentices from such a large pool of applicants.  These students have to be team players and continue the momentum we have built in the first 3 1/2 years of the program. They need to have the aptitude to grasp all that we ask them to learn. They must be willing to commit to the hours of the job. They need to convey a sense of initiative for their futures, and that they see our program as more than just a job.  We have met many students who can do all of the above. We are about to meet more in the next 30 hours. Yet, there will be four whose interviews, references, transcripts and ability to connect to our interviewers will help them rise above their peers.

This process reinforces the notion that there are countless students in New Bedford, and in the region, who don’t get noticed, or notoriety, simply because they are doing their homework, volunteering after school and on weekends and are staying out of trouble. These are the good kids, the students who deserve our appreciation for doing the ‘right thing’. We feel lucky to get the chance to meet some of them this week. We wish all of them well. We feel even luckier that four more of them will start work with us next week.

Pilot apprentices Spring / Summer 2010

Pilot apprentices Spring / Summer 2010

 

 

‘Following Fish’ exhibit opens Sept. 27

Marie Louise Gomes makes scallop bags at Diamond Marine Supply, one of the many diverse jobs vital to seafood processing in the commercial fishing industry. (Photo by Phil Mello)

Marie Louise Gomes makes scallop bags at Diamond Marine Supply, one of the many diverse jobs vital to seafood processing in the commercial fishing industry. (Photo by Phil Mello)

An innovative exhibit titled Following Fish – Navigate Through the New Bedford Fishery opens Friday, September 27, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Following Fish debuts on the eve of the port’s tenth annual Working Waterfront Festival and precedes a gala concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater to benefit the festival’s programming. Concert tickets are available at the door for $10. The public is cordially invited to the exhibit opening; RSVP is required in advance by calling (508) 997-0046, ext. 100.

Installed in the San Francisco Room, Andrew Wilde Gallery and the Davis Observation Deck overlooking the harbor, Following Fish brings the past and present together in a poignant and dramatic way, notes María Quintero, Curatorial Fellow and the exhibit’s lead curator. “It is easy to look out across the many draggers and scallopers and imagine a similarly sized fleet 150 years ago, except with wooden hulls, masts and spars. Following Fish draws a direct line from whaling then to fishing now,” she said.

Whaling was a dangerous profession and it is no different for the com­mercial fisherman today. Fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the country, yet the men and women of New Bedford continue to go down to the sea for fish. As a result of their great efforts and with the assistance of processing plant workers on shore, New Bedford has been the nation’s highest grossing fishing port for 13 consecutive years.

Through an innovative design approach, Following Fish will be expanded upon over the course of the next few years. With the input of an advisory panel led by highly respected leaders in the field such as Drs. Brian Rothschild and Kevin Stokesbury, the museum’s curators will open up the exhibit development process to the public. Visitors can participate in interactive elements and share their opinions online as they navigate the fascinating, complex and arduous voyage to bring seafood from the ocean to the dinner table.

 In addition to being an engaging visual ex­perience, the exhibit aims to test new educational approaches for younger audiences while addressing many of the larger complex and vexing questions that envelope the industry today.

Featured are new acquisitions by contemporary artists includ­ing paintings by Dora Atwater Millikin, a 40” long model of the dragger Nobska by Westport model maker Bruce Gifford and the outdoor installation of ceramic fish by Nancy Train Smith. Extraordinary wood carvings by Leander Plummer (1857-1914) are juxtaposed with contemporary photography by Phil Mello and accompanied by oral histories with fishermen provided by Laura Orleans and the Working Waterfront Festival Committee.

Following Fish is sponsored by the William M. Wood Foundation. Tweet the exhibit with hashtag #FollowingFish_NBWM

Investigating the Information Hidden in Whale Ear Wax

The hottest whale story of the day involves ear wax. Several outlets NBC NewsScience World Report, and New Scientist, among others, have posted stories about information enclosed in the long, waxy earplug of a 12 year old male blue whale that beached in 2007 along the California coast.  These earplugs have been used previously to determine the age of baleen whales. The wax builds up in the ear canal of the whales, with no way for the wax to exit the head. Baleen whales have distinct annual cycles of feeding and fasting, much like trees have annual cycles of growth and dormancy. Distinct changes in the rings are seen every six months. The blue whale from which the plug was taken was estimated to be 12 years old, since it had 24 rings in the wax.

The researchers of this project had wondered about what else could be ascertained from analysis of the waxy earplug. The results are significant, since they were able to determine several factors about the animal’s life, including the toxins that had entered the young whale’s body. It has long been known that many nursing marine mammals pass the toxins in their bodies through their milk to their calves. This sad fact held true for this blue whale.

Blue Whale4 NOAA

Their paper “Blue Whale Earplug Reveals Lifetime Contaminant Exposure and Hormone Profiles” has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The authors have summarized the significance of their research: “Currently, obtaining lifetime chemical profiles (i.e., from birth to death) is extremely rare and difficult for most of Earth’s animals. We have developed a unique approach to quantify hormone and contaminant lifetime profiles for an individual blue whale with a 6-mo resolution using the wax earplug as a natural matrix capable of archiving and preserving these temporal profiles. Using a male blue whale earplug, chemical analysis reveals lifetime patterns of mercury and organic pollutant exposure as well as fluctuating hormone levels. Specifically, we quantified contaminant maternal transfer, time to sexual maturity, and the doubling of stress over the animal’s lifespan. We anticipate that this technique will fundamentally transform our ability to assess human impact on these environmental sentinels and their ecosystems.”

It should be noted that one of the authors, Charles Potter, of the Smithsonian Institution, is a friend of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and has contributed his knowledge, expertise and insight to past Museum projects.

Old Dartmouth Lyceum lecture series

Thursdays, September 19th, October 3rd & 24th, November 14th
This year the Old Dartmouth Lyceum lecture series will focus around the exhibit Arctic Visions: “Away then Floats the Ice-Island”. The Series takes place Thursday evenings on September 19th, October 3rd and 24th, and November 14th. Receptions in the Jacobs Family Gallery begin at 6:00 pm. Lectures in the Cook Memorial Theater begin at 7:00 pm.  Tickets are now on sale. See below for more information about the individual lectures and registration information.

A detail from the painting titled "View of the Sermitsialik Glacier" by William Bradford

A detail from the painting titled “View of the Sermitsialik Glacier” by William Bradford

September 19th
Russell Potter
Frozen Zones: Bradford, Arctic Photography and nineteenth-century Visual Culture
Mr. Potter teaches English and Media Studies at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. His work encompasses hip hop culture, popular music, and the history of exploration of the Arctic in the nineteenth century. When the artist William Bradford chartered a voyage to the Arctic purely for the purposes of art – including photographers – he was revolutionizing both the scope and the immediacy of photography, bringing back a rich array of images, the first ever taken of Arctic by professional photographers. These photos he put to many uses –projected as lantern slide lectures, printed and used as view-books for painting commissions, and – most magnificently – as illustrations for the groundbreaking book The Arctic Regions.

October 3rd
Kevin Avery
Sea of Ice:  The Art of Arctic Exploration
Mr. Avery is a senior research scholar and a former associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an adjunct professor in the art department of Hunter College, City University of New York. He will review the history of Arctic exploration in painting and illustration, with special reference to nineteenth-century artists and illustrators leading up to Frederic Church and New Bedford’s William Bradford.  Dr. Avery will reveal known or probable sources in the history of western imagery applied to the visualization of the alien landscape that was and, to most, still is the Arctic regions.

October 24th
Douglas Wamsley​
William Bradford’s 1869 Expedition, in Context with Arctic Travels of the 19th Century
Mr. Wamsley,  an independent scholar and attorney who has written extensively on the history of 19th century Arctic exploration. His most recent work is a biography, Polar Hayes, on the life and accomplishments of Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes, a participant in Bradford’s 1869 Greenland voyage. In 1869, a sailing excursion along the northwest coast of Greenland was not a venture to be taken lightly.  However, William Bradford’s voyage ably succeeded in navigating those ice-laden waters that year, while at the same time capturing vivid images of the “Frozen Zone”. This lecture recounts the history of that memorable expedition and its proper place in the broader context of 19th century arctic travels.

November 14th
Kenn Harper
Inuit and Whaling in the Bradford Era
Mr. Harper is a historian, linguist and writer, who has lived in the Arctic (both Greenland and Canada) for the past 47 years. He writes a weekly history column under the name Taissumani for Nunatsiaq News, the newspaper of record for Nunavut, Canada, and is the author of Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo. He will speak on the whaling industry and the profound effect on the culture of Inuit in both Canada and Greenland. He will examine this impact, its effect on Inuit life, and Inuit adaptation to the stresses and demands of change and recount episodes from the lives of particular Inuit who used the whaling industry to their own advantage.

Buy Tickets Here or register by phone at  508-997-0046 ext. 100.
$15.00 per lecture (non-members, $20)
$50.00 for series (non-members, $75)

Old Dartmouth Lyceum is sponsored by Nye Lubricants and Bruce and Karen Wilburn.

Tweet hashtag: #ODLyceum2013

Whaling History Symposium, Oct. 19-20

WHS_2013_logoThe Old New Bedford Port District is the focus

The 37th Whaling History Symposium, to be held at the Museum on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, 2013.

This year’s theme is the interdependence and integration of various communities and commercial interests in the New Bedford Port District and their relation to the whaling industry that was the main economic focus of the region. Maritime curator Michael Dyer will open the session with an overview history of “The New Bedford Outports,” the galaxy of seacoast towns lying between Cape Cod and Rhode Island that shared with New Bedford and Fairhaven the risks and prosperity of the whaling industry, and suffered together in its decline. Next up, Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr., one of America’s most celebrated ship modelers and a former curator at the Whaling Museum, will present “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction,” describing the unique features of whaleship models and the challenges of building tem, and will provide a systematic examination of their value as historical documents, sublime aesthetic byproducts of local seafaring, and relics that pay homage to a unique maritime heritage. Mr. Ronnberg will be followed by Judith N. Lund, also a former curator of the Museum, to introduce the current exhibition “The Art of the Ship Model,” which she co-curated with J. Michael Wall.

Following a break for lunch, New Bedford historian, lighthouse preservationist and publicist Arthur Motta will speak about “Lighthouses of New Bedford” and their integration into the fabric of The Life and Times of the Whaling Capital, one of the nation’s greatest seaports.  This will be expanded upon by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus, on “Beacons and Blubber: The Amos Baker Family and four generations of whaling, lighthouses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting,” a pictorial extravaganza that delves deep into museum collections to explore the unusual history of this exemplary family of lighthouse keepers and whaling captains.  Capping the all-day plenary sessions will be the noted local historian Dr. Alfred Saulniers, addressing “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910,” a little-known but crucial component community of participants in the city’s great Age of Sail.  To close out the day, Dr. Frank will introduce another current exhibition, “Harbor Views,” which focuses on visions of the estuary, waterfronts, and waterborne traffic by some of the most proficient and expressive local artists, from William Bradford and Albert Van Beest to L.D. Eldred and Clifford Ashley.

Scheduled for Sunday at 10:00 a.m. is an optional field-excursion: a waterborne harbor tour and special close-up narrated cruise around the port’s three historic lighthouses.

The Whaling History Symposium, first established in 1975, brings scholars, collectors, armchair historians, and interested nautical enthusiasts to New Bedford from all over the country and abroad, to share interests in maritime history, nautical lore, and the many intriguing facets of whaling heritage worldwide.  This time around, our own Home Port is the focus which, backed by sumptuous new exhibitions at the Museum, we find timely and compelling.

Registration: $50 for members and $65 for non-members (includes lunch and admission to all museum galleries) by October 15. Optional Lighthouse Harbor Tour, $10 additional. To register, call Pam Lowe, (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org

The Whaling History Symposium is made possible in part by the Samuel D. Rusitzky Fund.

Twitter hashtag: #WhalingHistorySymp37

Museum Apprentices Create Children’s Stories

The Museum really enjoys highlighting the many ways in which our apprentices get involved in Whaling Museum programming and activities. This summer we’ve tasked them with creating their own children’s stories, so that they can be read during a new summer activity called Lunch Time Story Time.

Starting on Tuesday, July 30, from 1:00 – 2:00pm, and continuing on Tuesdays, August 6 and 13, several of the apprentices will read their stories in the Jacobs Family Gallery, to any children that would like to join them. After the stories have been read, the children in attendance can create and take home crafts that relate to the stories.  The apprentices have done a great job of writing these stories and creating and/or obtaining images to accompany the text.

Photo from Museum's Kendall Collection 2000.100.1838.137

Photo from Museum’s Kendall Collection 2000.100.1838.137

Let our ‘kids’ read to your kids. Bring a lunch if you’d like.  Lunch Time Story Time is FREE. Regular admission applies to visiting the Museum galleries. For more information contact Robert Rocha, (508) 717-6849 or via rrocha@whalingmuseum.org.