James Lopes has been named Vice President, Education and Programming of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. In making the announcement today, James Russell, museum president said, “the trustees and staff are extremely excited that Jim will come on board. Jim has a deep passion for local history and culture that promises to bring the Museum more closely in touch with the diverse communities in the city. Moreover, his legal background as an entertainment lawyer is perfectly suited to leading a capable education team and volunteer corps. Jim will lead the institution to the next level with engaging and meaningful programs.”
Jim Lopes, a fourth generation New Bedford native, graduated with honors from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is a practicing attorney and specializes in entertainment law, and has held executive positions at MCA-Universal Pictures, CBS-FOX Video, and Reader’s Digest. He was in private practice in New York City, where he was also a professor at the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education, Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY). Currently, he is also an adjunct professor in Entertainment Law at UMass School of Law at Dartmouth, a trustee of Mass Humanities and a member of the Advisory Council of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.
Mr. Lopes has compiled an extensive genealogical database linking over 28,000 family members on six continents and numerous others who worked in the whaling, textiles and cranberry industries.
“I am looking forward to this challenging position. It is a first-rate opportunity to enrich and extend the Whaling Museum’s offerings to its growing constituency. I think one of the primary missions of the Museum should be to connect the story of whaling to the people. There is no better way to tell local history, international whaling history or the story of Old Dartmouth, than to tell the stories of the families who were involved. Those families come from everywhere and have moved on to everywhere,” Mr. Lopes said.
Mr. Lopes is an award-winning film producer of the documentary Race to Execution which focused on the issues of race and the death penalty and was broadcast nationally on PBS. Early in his career Mr. Lopes authored The Black Heritage Trail, the guide to Boston’s historic African-American community. He also contributed to the Official Boston Bicentennial Guidebook published in 1976.
Part of the senior management team, Lopes will head the education department with an annual budget of $1 million, which oversees several key activities of the museum, including public programming, apprenticeship and internship training, and the volunteer and docent corps.