River & Rail Symposium, Feb. 15-16

Wamsutta_Mills_c1900Noted historian, Kingston Heath will lead a weekend symposium on enterprise and industry in New Bedford titled The River and the Rail, February 15-16 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Port of New Bedford’s historical evolution as a manufacturing and commercial center provides valuable perspective on the growth challenges it faces today – managing ocean resources, cleaning up a century of pollution, and mapping a path forward for other maritime related industries while preserving its fishing industry. Join Kingston Heath and thirteen other speakers exploring and discussing the city’s principal natural resource and its role in the growth and renewal of a great American seaport.

The keynote speaker is noted historian and New Bedford native Kingston W. Heath, Ph.D., author of “The Patina of Place” – a study of the New Bedford architectural house style commonly called the “triple-decker” – how and why this iconic New England structure came to be, its links to immigration, industry, and urban landscapes.

Presentations will include oil and candle manufacture, banking history, New Bedford’s movers and shakers in the 19th century, textile mills and their physical and philosophical effects on the city and its population, the history of the glass industry, New Bedford’s public water supply, the harbor and its issues, the fishing industry, and the future for manufacturing.

Schedule: Saturday, February 15, 8:15 am – 4:30 pm

8:15 a.m. – Registration and complete breakfast; 9:15 a.m. – Keynote: Kingston W. Heath, Ph.D. will present “Whalers to Weavers: New Bedford’s Promoted and Neglected Legacies.” Dr. Heath is author of The Patina of Place: The Cultural Weathering of a New Eng­land Industrial Landscape; Director, Historic Preservation Program, University of Oregon.

Session 1: Origins of Industry: 10:05 a.m. – “New Bedford – The Capital of Nine­teenth Century American Whale Oil Refining” presented by Mark Foster, exhibit designer, researcher, author and illustrator; 10:40 a.m. – “Beyond Whaling: Three Families and their Diversified Investments” presented by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr., attorney, poet, family historian, Rotch, Rodman and Morgan families.

Session 2: Developing Industry: 11:30 a.m. – “The Wisest Marriage of the All – Rachel and Matthew Howland” presented by Peggi Medeiros, local historian, researcher, preservation advocate and blogger; 12:05 p.m. – “The Evolution of New Bedford’s Financial Sector from the Early Nineteenth to the Mid-twentieth Century” presented by Robert E. Wright, Nef Family Chair of Political Economy, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Academic Director, Historians Against Slavery; 12:45 p.m. – Luncheon; 1:45 p.m. – “Jonathan Bourne, Jr.: A Case Study in Commercial Acumen” presented by Brian Witkowski, Education Programs Manager, New Bedford Whaling Museum; 2:20 p.m. – “Steam Mills in a Seaport: The Textile Industry in New Bedford” presented by Patrick M. Malone, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, American Studies and Urban Studies, Brown University; 2:55 p.m. – “The Textile Factory in New Bedford as Architecture” presented by Charles Parrott, Historical Architect, Lowell National Historical Park; 3:45 p.m. – “New Bedford’s Glass Industry” presented by Kirk Nelson, Director, New Bedford Museum of Glass.

Sunday, Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Session 3: The Harbor’s Changing Uses: 9:00 a.m. – “Water Wealth: A Brief History New Bedford’s Public Water Supply” presented by Arthur Motta, Director, Marketing & Commu­nications, New Bedford Whaling Museum; 9:35 a.m. – “An Ecological Response to the Industrial Pollution of New Bedford Harbor” presented by Mark Rasmussen, President and CEO, Buzzards Bay Coalition; 10:10 a.m. – “Changing Tides: The Story of New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry” presented by Jim Kendall, Executive Director, New Bedford Seafood Consulting; 11:00 a.m. – “The River and the Rail: A Pictorial Tour of New Bedford’s Evolving Waterfront” presented by Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, New Bedford Whaling Museum; 11:35 a.m. – “Wind, Water and Rail: the Future of New Bedford’s Waterfront Industries” presented by Matthew Morrissey, Managing Director, New Bedford Wind Energy Center.

Registration: $65 (non-members $75); students $50 with valid i.d. Includes all sessions, Saturday’s complete breakfast, luncheon, refreshments, Sunday’s continental breakfast and admission to all museum galleries. Saturday breakfast and keynote lecture only: $30. To register, call 508-997-0046 ext. 100, or online.

Major support for this program comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Nye Lubricants and the William M. Wood Foundation. Tweet: #RiverandRail_NBWM

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