Cape Verdean Gallery Committee issues call to the community for historical items

The volcano at Fogo from the Museum's Purrington-Russell Panorama of a "Whaling Voyage Round the World, 1841-1845"

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is in the process of establishing a permanent exhibit that will tell the story of Cape Verdean Whaling and culture of the Cape Verdean American experience.

The Cape Verdean Gallery Committee of the Whaling Museum is asking for the assistance of individuals, families and groups with ties to Cape Verdean history and culture to consider donating items of historical interest for use in this new exhibit, planned to open in July 2011. The exhibition will explore Cape Verde – its people, their maritime history and its connections to New Bedford – and the legacies that continue to tie the city and its culture to Cape Verde.

Co-chaired by Gene Monteiro and Dr. Patricia Andrade, the committee meets regularly with the Museum’s curatorial staff to discuss and advise them on the content and scope of the exhibition, which is planned for the southeast mezzanine of the newly restored Bourne Building, adjacent to the new Azorean Whaleman Gallery at the Museum’s core.

“Within the Museum’s vast collections there are many significant artifacts, photos and documents which will help tell the unique and compelling story of these islands, Cape Verdeans’ journey to America, and their contributions to this region of the county, in particular,” said Mr. Monteiro. “However, we are also hoping that within the homes of the Cape Verdean American community here in southeastern Massachusetts, there may be important items waiting to be discovered and perhaps featured in this exhibit,” he added.

Dr. Patricia Andrade noted, “Historical photographs will be key in telling this story, so we are issuing a call to the community to dust off their family albums and look through their attics for any items, documents, photographs or artifacts which might be useful in more fully telling the story of the people of Cape Verde and their journey as Americans.”

Building the museum’s permanent collection of art and artifacts relating to Cape Verdean heritage in New Bedford and onboard New Bedford vessels will enable this important American story to be told within the broader context of New Bedford history.

Upon consideration by the curatorial team the Cape Verdean Gallery Committee may recommend to the Collections Committee that an item be included into Museum’s permanent collection. “It would be a great honor to incorporate a part of one’s family history to tell this important story and have an item preserved in the permanent collection for all future generations,” said Dr. Greg Galer, the Museum’s Vice President of Collections & Exhibitions, who is working with the Committee along with Michael Dyer, the Museum’s Maritime Curator.

The examination of early family photographs, items brought from Cape Verde by emigrants, artifacts representing Cape Verdean culture – including musical instruments, pottery or other domestic objects of significance, clothing, craft, paintings, early immigration documents, scrimshaw and other artifacts related to whaling and the maritime trades – may be directed to Michael Dyer: (508) 997-0046, ext. 137, or by email: mdyer@whalingmuseum.org

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