Presidents’ Day fete kicks off vacation week, Feb. 20

Abe Lincoln, played by Arthur Bennett, hands out his portrait - a penny - to school children at the Annual Presidents' Day Birthday Celebration

Abraham Lincoln came to New Bedford in 1848 and will make a return trip – accompanied by George Washington – to visit with children and enjoy birthday cake at the Museum’s Presidents’ Day Birthday Celebration on Monday, February 20,from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Explore how the Founding Fathers influenced New Bedford history, participate in a scavenger hunt, create sailors’ valentines, learn how to make origami whales, and more. Children will have the opportunity to dress as their favorite president and have their photograph taken beside the famous Resolute desk, created from the same ship’s timbers as the one used in the Oval Office. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Presidents’ Day events are free. Regular admission rates apply to the museum galleries.

Presidents’ Day schedule includes crafts and activities for children, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; storytelling with President Lincoln, 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.; scavenger hunt, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.; dress like a president beside the Resolute Desk, noon to 1:00 p.m.; add your face to Mount Rushmore alongside Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; storytelling with President Washington, 1:00 to 1:30 p.m.; and Happy Birthday sing-along and cake with the Presidents, 1:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Presidents’ Day kicks off a week of events for school vacation week that includes special tours and hands-on activities each day, culminating with Chocolate Day on Saturday, February 25.

School vacation week activities

Tuesday-Friday, February 21-24, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Museum highlights tours led by docents that include the opportunity to go below decks on the Lagoda. Regular admission rates apply.

Tuesday, February 21, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Moby-Dick highlights tour. Herman Melville’s great American novel comes to life on this tour of the Museum’s collection. The tour will leave from the front desk. Regular admission rates apply.

Wednesday, February 22, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Make your own scrimshaw, learn to draw a whale, learn to make origami whales, and more. Free.

Thursday, February 23, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Create your own Sailors’ Valentines and take them home as a keepsake. Free.

Friday, February 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: All aboard the Lagoda! Join the crew of Capt. Calvinilius (C.) Weade on board the Lagoda for an adventure on the high seas. Travel the world, interact with foreign people, learn the ropes of the whaleship, and go a-whaling. Regular admission rates apply.

Saturday, February 25, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Valentines Day II – Chocolate Day! Learn where chocolate comes from, how it came to colonial New England, and how cocoa was made in early America. Did New Bedford whalers drink chocolate at sea? Free lectures and demonstrations of colonial-style chocolate making with free samples from American Heritage Chocolate. Authors Christopher Kelly, Dr. Timothy Walker (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), and Rodney Snyder (Mars, Inc.) will discuss the history of chocolate, and the chapters they contributed to Chocolate: History, Culture and Heritage. Copies, signed by the authors, will be available for sale in the Museum store.

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