Public dedication ceremonies at the New Bedford Whaling Museum were held today at 4:30 p.m. to commemorate the newly restored Bourne Building with elected leaders and dignitaries. The event featured the signing of a Protocol between the Azores, New Bedford and San Francisco establishing a formal connection between the Regional Government of the Azores, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, recognizing the strong historical and cultural Azorean connections across the United States. The Protocol will foster new programs in cultural exchange, scholarship, education and exhibitions.
The newly restored 1916 Bourne Building was commemorated and its signature exhibit, the half-scale whale ship, Lagoda, ceremonially re-launched in the gala public ceremony. Over a five year period, the Museum invested $4 million, beginning with extensive repairs to the roof and cupola followed by complete restoration of the interior.
In recognition of these milestones, Museum president and CEO, James Russell, announced admission to the museum for all New Bedford residents is free through December 31, 2010. Free admission will also be granted to registered students of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Bristol Community College.
The ceremonies included the dedication of the Museum’s Azorean Arch, which forms the central portal to the new Azorean Whaleman Gallery, a gift of the Government of Portugal.
The evening’s events were sponsored by Bristol County Savings Bank.