Author Archives: Arthur Motta

The Haunted Whale Ship, Oct. 26

David Brownell and Lucy Bly appear as Capt. Ahab and Hetty Green at "The Haunted Whale Ship," Saturday, Oct. 26.

David Brownell and Lucy Bly appear as Capt. Ahab and Hetty Green at “The Haunted Whale Ship,” Saturday, Oct. 26.

Set sail on The Haunted Whale Ship, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s family-friendly Halloween event, geared for children 12 and under and their parents on Saturday, October 26, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the century-old museum in a new (dim) light and meet ghosts from New Bedford’s seafaring past. The not-too scary fun includes a costume contest, haunted scavenger hunt, arts & crafts activities, spooky stories & tours, refreshments, and more.

In partnership with members of the New Bedford Preservation Society, a few notable spirits of Old Dartmouth and New Bedford will roam museum galleries and greet visitors with tales of long-ago. Reenactors will also include museum docents, staff and high school apprentices with special apparitions of Hetty Green – “The Witch of Wall Street” – played by Lucy Bly, and of Deborah Doubleday – innkeeper during the 1778 burning of Bedford Village – played Judy Roderiques. David Brownell rises as Captain Ahab.

Tickets are required in advance: $3 for children 12 and under; $5 for all others. Call (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Whaling History Symposium, Oct. 19-20

"Bark Stafford, Outward Bound" painted by Clifford W. Ashley in 1926 recalls the heyday of the New Bedford Port District, the focus of the 37th Whaling History Symposium, October 19-20 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. (New Bedford Whaling Museum collection)

“Bark Stafford, Outward Bound” painted by Clifford W. Ashley in 1926 recalls the heyday of the New Bedford Port District, the focus of the 37th Whaling History Symposium, October 19-20 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. (New Bedford Whaling Museum collection)

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is pleased to announce the program for its 37th Whaling History Symposium, to be held at the Museum on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, 2013.

This year’s theme is the interdependence and integration of various communities and commercial interests in the New Bedford Port District and their relation to the whaling industry that was the main economic focus of the region. Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, will open the session with an overview history of the District and its “Outports,” the galaxy of seacoast towns lying between Cape Cod and Rhode Island that shared with New Bedford and Fairhaven the risks and prosperity of the whaling industry, and suffered together in its decline. Next up, Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr., one of America’s most celebrated ship modelers and a former curator at the Whaling Museum, will present “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction,” describing the unique features of whaleship models and the challenges of building them, and will provide a systematic examination of their value as historical documents, sublime aesthetic byproducts of local seafaring, and relics that pay homage to a unique maritime heritage. Mr. Ronnberg will be followed by Judith N. Lund, also a former curator of the Museum, to introduce the current exhibition “The Art of the Ship Model,” which she co-curated with J. Michael Wall.

Following a break for lunch, New Bedford historian and publicist Arthur P. Motta will speak about “Lighthouses of New Bedford” and their integration into the fabric of The Life and Times of the Whaling Capital, one of the nation’s greatest seaports. Arthur has long been involved in the preservation of New Bedford’s three extant lighthouses. This will be expanded upon by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus, with “Beacons and Blubber: The Amos Baker Family and four generations of whaling, lighthouses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting,” a pictorial extravaganza that delves deep into museum collections to explore the unusual history of this exemplary family of lighthouse keepers and whaling captains.  Capping the all-day plenary sessions will be Dr. Alfred H. Saulniers, economist and noted local historian, addressing “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910,” a little-known but crucial component community of participants in the city’s great Age of Sail.  To close out the day, Dr. Frank will introduce another current exhibition, “Harbor Views,” which focuses on visions of the estuary, waterfronts, and waterborne traffic by some of the most proficient and expressive local artists, from William Bradford and Albert Van Beest to L.D. Eldred and Clifford Ashley.

 Scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 a.m. is an optional field excursion: a harbor tour and special close-up narrated cruise around the port’s three historic lighthouses. Tour seating is limited.

 The Whaling History Symposium, first established in 1975, brings scholars, collectors, armchair historians, and interested nautical enthusiasts to New Bedford from all over the country and abroad, to share interests in maritime history, nautical lore, and the many intriguing facets of whaling heritage worldwide. This year’s Symposium focuses on the home port, whose name was “known in every seaport on the globe.”

 Registration: $50 for members and $65 for non-members (includes lunch and admission to all museum galleries) by October 17. Optional Lighthouse Harbor Tour, $25 additional. To register, call the Admissions Desk: (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org

 The Whaling History Symposium is sponsored in part by the Samuel D. Rusitzky Fund.

SCHEDULE

 All Saturday Symposium events, including registration, plenary sessions, coffee break, and lunch, take place in the Jacobs Family Gallery and Cook Memorial Theater. The Sunday component is a boat trip on the Acushnet River, reserved in advance. Museum galleries are open daily to all registrants. A Symposium discount room rate is available at the New Bedford Fairfield Inn and Suites.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

 

9:00 a.m. – Registration & coffee

 10:00 a.m. – Welcome & Opening Remarks

 10:15 a.m. – “The entire business of the place is the whale fishery”: Specialization and Management in the New Bedford Port District, 1789-1884. – presented by Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 11:15 a.m. – “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction” – presented by Erik A. R. Ronnberg, Jr., ship model artist and historian; former Associate Curator of Maritime History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 12:15 p.m. – Introducing “The Art of the Ship Model” Exhibition – presented by Judith Navas Lund, Curator Emerita, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 12:30 a.m. – Luncheon, Jacobs Family Gallery.

 2:00 p.m. – Lighthouses of New Bedford. – presented by Arthur P. Motta, Director, Marketing & Communications, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 3:00 p.m. – “Beacons and Blubber: The Baker Family and four generations of whaling, light­houses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting, 1825-1940” –  presented by Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D., Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

 4:00 p.m – “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910” – presented by Alfred H. Saulniers, Ph.D., Economist and Historian, New Bedford.

5:00 p.m. – Introducing the “Harbor Views” Exhibition. – presented by Stuart M. Frank.

 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20

Optional Field Trip – narrated by Arthur P. Motta: a tour of New Bedford harbor (weather/seas permitting), with a sail past Palmer Island Light (1849), Butler Flats Light Station (1898), and Clark’s Point Light (1869). Morning departure at 10:30 a.m. aboard the harbor tour boat, Acushnet, from Fisherman’s Wharf, returning in time for lunch on your own on shore. Seating is limited.

‘Following Fish’ exhibit opens Sept. 27

Marie Louise Gomes makes scallop bags at Diamond Marine Supply, one of the many diverse jobs vital to seafood processing in the commercial fishing industry. (Photo by Phil Mello)

Marie Louise Gomes makes scallop bags at Diamond Marine Supply, one of the many diverse jobs vital to seafood processing in the commercial fishing industry. (Photo by Phil Mello)

An innovative exhibit titled Following Fish – Navigate Through the New Bedford Fishery opens Friday, September 27, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Following Fish debuts on the eve of the port’s tenth annual Working Waterfront Festival and precedes a gala concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater to benefit the festival’s programming. Concert tickets are available at the door for $10. The public is cordially invited to the exhibit opening; RSVP is required in advance by calling (508) 997-0046, ext. 100.

Installed in the San Francisco Room, Andrew Wilde Gallery and the Davis Observation Deck overlooking the harbor, Following Fish brings the past and present together in a poignant and dramatic way, notes María Quintero, Curatorial Fellow and the exhibit’s lead curator. “It is easy to look out across the many draggers and scallopers and imagine a similarly sized fleet 150 years ago, except with wooden hulls, masts and spars. Following Fish draws a direct line from whaling then to fishing now,” she said.

Whaling was a dangerous profession and it is no different for the com­mercial fisherman today. Fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the country, yet the men and women of New Bedford continue to go down to the sea for fish. As a result of their great efforts and with the assistance of processing plant workers on shore, New Bedford has been the nation’s highest grossing fishing port for 13 consecutive years.

Through an innovative design approach, Following Fish will be expanded upon over the course of the next few years. With the input of an advisory panel led by highly respected leaders in the field such as Drs. Brian Rothschild and Kevin Stokesbury, the museum’s curators will open up the exhibit development process to the public. Visitors can participate in interactive elements and share their opinions online as they navigate the fascinating, complex and arduous voyage to bring seafood from the ocean to the dinner table.

 In addition to being an engaging visual ex­perience, the exhibit aims to test new educational approaches for younger audiences while addressing many of the larger complex and vexing questions that envelope the industry today.

Featured are new acquisitions by contemporary artists includ­ing paintings by Dora Atwater Millikin, a 40” long model of the dragger Nobska by Westport model maker Bruce Gifford and the outdoor installation of ceramic fish by Nancy Train Smith. Extraordinary wood carvings by Leander Plummer (1857-1914) are juxtaposed with contemporary photography by Phil Mello and accompanied by oral histories with fishermen provided by Laura Orleans and the Working Waterfront Festival Committee.

Following Fish is sponsored by the William M. Wood Foundation. Tweet the exhibit with hashtag #FollowingFish_NBWM

Whaling History Symposium, Oct. 19-20

WHS_2013_logoThe Old New Bedford Port District is the focus

The 37th Whaling History Symposium, to be held at the Museum on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, 2013.

This year’s theme is the interdependence and integration of various communities and commercial interests in the New Bedford Port District and their relation to the whaling industry that was the main economic focus of the region. Maritime curator Michael Dyer will open the session with an overview history of “The New Bedford Outports,” the galaxy of seacoast towns lying between Cape Cod and Rhode Island that shared with New Bedford and Fairhaven the risks and prosperity of the whaling industry, and suffered together in its decline. Next up, Erik A.R. Ronnberg, Jr., one of America’s most celebrated ship modelers and a former curator at the Whaling Museum, will present “Whaleship Models: Research and Reconstruction,” describing the unique features of whaleship models and the challenges of building tem, and will provide a systematic examination of their value as historical documents, sublime aesthetic byproducts of local seafaring, and relics that pay homage to a unique maritime heritage. Mr. Ronnberg will be followed by Judith N. Lund, also a former curator of the Museum, to introduce the current exhibition “The Art of the Ship Model,” which she co-curated with J. Michael Wall.

Following a break for lunch, New Bedford historian, lighthouse preservationist and publicist Arthur Motta will speak about “Lighthouses of New Bedford” and their integration into the fabric of The Life and Times of the Whaling Capital, one of the nation’s greatest seaports.  This will be expanded upon by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus, on “Beacons and Blubber: The Amos Baker Family and four generations of whaling, lighthouses, journals, watercolors, scrimshaw, and artifact collecting,” a pictorial extravaganza that delves deep into museum collections to explore the unusual history of this exemplary family of lighthouse keepers and whaling captains.  Capping the all-day plenary sessions will be the noted local historian Dr. Alfred Saulniers, addressing “Franco Americans in the New Bedford Whale Fishery, 1790-1910,” a little-known but crucial component community of participants in the city’s great Age of Sail.  To close out the day, Dr. Frank will introduce another current exhibition, “Harbor Views,” which focuses on visions of the estuary, waterfronts, and waterborne traffic by some of the most proficient and expressive local artists, from William Bradford and Albert Van Beest to L.D. Eldred and Clifford Ashley.

Scheduled for Sunday at 10:00 a.m. is an optional field-excursion: a waterborne harbor tour and special close-up narrated cruise around the port’s three historic lighthouses.

The Whaling History Symposium, first established in 1975, brings scholars, collectors, armchair historians, and interested nautical enthusiasts to New Bedford from all over the country and abroad, to share interests in maritime history, nautical lore, and the many intriguing facets of whaling heritage worldwide.  This time around, our own Home Port is the focus which, backed by sumptuous new exhibitions at the Museum, we find timely and compelling.

Registration: $50 for members and $65 for non-members (includes lunch and admission to all museum galleries) by October 15. Optional Lighthouse Harbor Tour, $10 additional. To register, call Pam Lowe, (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org

The Whaling History Symposium is made possible in part by the Samuel D. Rusitzky Fund.

Twitter hashtag: #WhalingHistorySymp37

110th Annual Meeting

Hon. Armand Fernandes, Jr.

Hon. Armand Fernandes, Jr.

The Honorable Armand Fernandes, Jr. was elected 26th Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society – New Bedford Whaling Museum at the 110th Annual Meeting of the Society on May 24, 2013, held at the museum. Incoming trustees to the 31-member board for the term 2013-2016 include James G. DeMello, Llewellyn Howland III, Joaquim Livramento, Hon. Phillip Rapoza, Maryellen Shachoy, and Gurdon B. Wattles.

The Honorable Armand Fernandes, Jr., a New Bedford native, is a retired Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court. His paternal grandparents emigrated from the Vila Real province in northern Portu­gal. His mother, age 97, is a native of Madeira. A New Bedford High School Gridiron Hall of Famer, Armand attended Lehigh Uni­versity where he met his wife, Patricia. After Lehigh, he attended Suffolk University Law School where he received his law degree. They have four children – all Lehigh alumni, and eight grandchildren.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Fernandes maintained a suc­cessful private law practice engaging in many jury and non-jury trials in the Federal and State Courts.

Spanning many years, his civil and criminal practice dealt with several high profile cases, some of which drew national attention. During this time he also served as Assistant District Attorney for the Southern District, Assistant City Solicitor, City Solicitor for the City of New Bedford, and legal advisor to the New Bedford Police Department. He has served on several Massachusetts Bar Association committees and lectured at continuing legal education programs.

Armand was introduced years ago to the Whaling Museum by friend and trustee, the Hon. D. Lloyd Macdonald and has served as its Clerk. His motivation in serving as Chair continues a longstanding commitment to public service. “Our region played a critical role in the growth of America – from whaling, to the Underground Rail­road, to the textile era and the fishing industry. Not enough of its contributions are taught in schools and our job, in part, reveals these connections, which can help people grasp the potentiality of the future,” he said.

A resident of Dartmouth, James G. DeMello is a graduate of Northeastern University and the Wharton School of Business at Pennsylvania State University. He is the for­mer CEO of Acushnet Company and the former owner and President/CEO of Acushnet Rubber Company. Active in the community, he is an advisory board mem­ber of Saint Luke’s Hospital, Polyneer, Inc., the University of Massachusetts, and Portuguese United for Education, Inc.

Llewellyn “Louie” Howland III returns to the board for his fourth term. Long-time chair of the Scholarship and Publications Committee and member of the Collections Committee, he has overseen many museum publications. A resident of Jamaica Plain, he is proprietor of Howland and Company, an antiquar­ian bookseller and he has written and lectured extensively on maritime history and art.

Joaquim “Jack” Livramento, a New Bedford native, received his master’s degree from Southeastern Massachusetts University and worked as a chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Springborn Laboratories. He was elected to the New Bedford School Committee in 2011.

The Honorable Phillip Rapoza is the Chief Justice of the Massachu­setts Appeals Court. He was appointed to that position in 2006 after 15 years of judicial service on the District Court, Superior Court, and Appeals Court. Chief Justice Rapoza is active in various international justice endeavors. In 2002, the President of Portu­gal bestowed on him the rank of Commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator for “promoting closer relations between the judicial systems of our two countries.” He has led international justice efforts and served on UN-backed war crimes tribunals. He currently serves as President of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, headquartered in Switzerland. A Dartmouth native, he graduated magna cum laude from Yale College and received his law degree from Cornell Law School.

A resident of Marion, Maryellen Sullivan Shachoy gradu­ated from Marymount College and attended Westfield College University of London, the London School of Economics, and Harvard University. Maryellen managed volunteers and coordinated special events at Massachu­setts General Hospital and WGBH. She also served as Finance Director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the Dukakis for President Campaign. She has served on the Board of Direc­tors for the League of Women Voters and American Cancer Society and volun­teers for the United Way, WGBH/Channel 2, and St. Rita’s Church in Marion. Mrs. Shachoy is also a member of the Beverly Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club and The Bay Club.

Returning to the board after two terms as Second Vice-Chair, Gurdon B. Wattles is an ardent champion of the museum. During his career, Gurdon served as President of the former American Manufacturing Company and Safety Railway Service Corporation and was a director of the former Eltra Corporation. He has frequently acted as a catalyst to bring important Museum projects and initia­tives to bear, specifically the Wattles Gallery, the Apprenticeship Program, and the Education Center and Research Library. Gurdon serves on the boards of the Newark Museum (NJ), Audubon Society of RI, and the Sea Research Foundation including Mystic Aquarium, the Ocean Exploration Center and Jason Learning under Dr. Robert Ballard.

Outgoing chair, John N. Garfield, Jr., noted, “The stars have been in alignment these past four years. Our museum has grown in stature, and prospered. Our depth of collections, scholarship, exhibitions, education and outreach has grown. Congratulations are due to our entire museum community for these remarkable years.”

In his inaugural remarks as chair, Judge Fernandes said, “We will continue to be the best of what we’ve been, and to cultivate our role as the region’s cultural nexus. I look forward also to the Mu­seum seizing the Digital Age; this will extend our presence worldwide just as our whaleships once did. Education is the great equalizer; it’s my hope we will expand our Apprenticeship Program and see our ap­prentices through to higher achievements. And, finally, reuniting the Research Library and a state-of-the-art Education Center with the museum’s main campus is a big goal, but it’s now within our reach.”

Officers for the 2013–2014 term: Hon. Armand Fernandes, Jr., Chair; George B. Mock III, First Vice Chair; Lucile P. Hicks, Second Vice Chair; Joseph E. McDonough, Treasurer; Donald S. Rice, Assistant Treasurer; Carol Taylor, Clerk.

Board of Trustees: Dr. Patricia L. Andrade, Charles Bascom, Nathaniel Bickford, Mary Jean Blasdale, William do Carmo, James G. DeMello, Roy Enoksen, Michelle N. Hantman, Edward M. Howland II, Llewellyn Howland III, Lawrence S. Huntington, Patricia Jayson, Keith Kauppila, David N. Kelley II, Elizabeth Kellogg, Jaoquim Livramento, Hon. D. Lloyd Macdonald, Eugene Monteiro, Barbara Moss, Hon. Phillip Rapoza, Jeffrey L. Raymon, Maryellen Shachoy, Hardwick Simmons, Gurdon B. Wattles and Harvey J. Wolkoff.

‘Arctic Visions’ exhibit opens April 26

Michael A. Lapides, curator of 'Arctic Visions' adjusts a 19th century model of a Umiak (skin boat) with a photomural of the Sermitsialik Glacier in the background, taken during Bradford's 1869 voyage to Greenland. (photo: NBWM)

Michael A. Lapides, curator of ‘Arctic Visions’ adjusts a 19th century model of a Umiak (skin boat) with a photomural of the Sermitsialik Glacier in the background, taken during Bradford’s 1869 voyage to Greenland. (photo: NBWM)

A major new exhibit titled Arctic Visions – Away then Floats the Ice-Island opens to the public with an evening of free activities for the entire family, including ice sculpting, performance art, Magic Lantern show, and a gala reception on Friday, April 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Using the rich Arctic and ethnographic collections of the museum and through partnerships with other institutions and individuals, Arctic Visions explores the intersections between art, science and exploration through the work of Fairhaven artist William Bradford (1823-1892). Highlights of the exhibit include an unparalleled collection of Bradford’s Arctic paintings and photographs taken during his 1869 expedition to Greenland, which he later incorporated into a massive leather-bound elephant folio, entitled The Arctic Regions – Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition. The exhibit’s title, Away then Floats the Ice-Island is drawn from the text of this core artifact in the exhibit, which was published in London in 1873 and principally sponsored by Queen Victoria.  The extremely rare volume is being republished by David R. Godine, Inc. in association with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and released in conjunction with the exhibit opening in the Wattles Family Gallery. A book signing will take place in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Several activities throughout the museum are scheduled as part of the opening, including ice sculpting throughout the day on the museum plaza by Thomas Brown; performance art by Drew Denny and Friends on the Lagoda at 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; Arctic Visions Opening Ceremonies in the Jacobs Family Gallery at 6:30 p.m.; American Magic Lantern Theater show in the Cook Memorial Theater at 7:15 p.m.; and Artists-in-Residence, Zaria Forman and Lisa Lebofsky at work in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Admission to the museum is free from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., R.S.V.P. by calling (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Opening concurrently in the museum’s Centre Street Gallery, is an exhibit titled, Following the Panther – The Arctic Photographs of Rena Bass Forman. The exhibit features the work of artist and photographer, Rena Bass Forman (1954-2011), who traveled extensively in search of transformational landscapes and light; it includes a selection of prints taken from her 2006 trip to Greenland, during which she retraced a segment of Bradford’s 1869 voyage aboard the ship, Panther.

Zaria Forman, Rena’s daughter, along with Lisa Lebofsky, will participate in the museum’s Artists-in-Residence Program for one month beginning with the exhibit opening. They will be creating art inspired in part by Bradford’s voyage and the public is invited to meet and speak with the artists while they are at work in the gallery.

Bradford’s 1873 book, now republished and reformatted as a 200-page hardcover will be available for $49.95 (plus tax) at the opening. It may also be reserved by calling the Museum Store: (508) 997-0046 ext. 127.

Taken together, the exhibit and the book reveal human impact on and understanding of the environment. Michael A. Lapides, Director of Digital Initiatives and curator of Arctic Visions noted, “Bradford’s work includes the use of photography, to serve his painting, and his magnificent book “Arctic Regions,” republished for the first time, serve as a poignant prelude to the rapidly changing Arctic landscape.” April 30th marks the 190th anniversary of Bradford’s birth.

Arctic Visions, related programming and the republication of Bradford’s book is generously underwritten by Bruce A. and Karen E. Wilburn, in honor of New Bedford Whaling Museum Director Emeritus, Richard C. Kugler. A recognized authority on the artist, Kugler’s 25-year tenure included building the museum’s expansive Bradford collection.

Also opening simultaneously at the New Bedford Art Museum City Gallery, a related exhibit titled The Frigid Zone: William Bradford’s Arctic Studies, includes works by Bradford from the collection of the New Bedford Free Public Library.

Scrimshaw Weekend, May 17-19

Crimper with serpent motif made of sperm whale ivory, ca. 1840s-50s, New Bedford Whaling Museum. (Photo: Richard Donnelly)

Crimper with serpent motif made of sperm whale ivory, circa 1840s-50s, New Bedford Whaling Museum.
(Photo: Richard Donnelly)

The 24th annual Scrimshaw Weekend takes place May 17, 18, and 19. This year’s special events are a classic swap meet and Nautical Antiques Show on Friday afternoon, and an optional fieldtrip “behind the scenes” to Mystic Seaport on the Sunday. Between times, sessions held all day on Saturday will feature illustrated presentations on the origins and history of scrimshaw, the identification and connoisseurship of masterworks, tips on collecting, and research on prices and market trends, all provided by experts gathered from across the nation — followed by a cash bar reception, gala banquet, and evening program.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the scrimshaw capital of the world, and the annual Scrimshaw Weekend is the world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard occupational art of whalers in the Age of Sail. Founded in 1989, the gala event attracts collectors, curators, folk art enthusiasts, amateur historians, antiques dealers, and others from coast to coast, who gather to share their enjoyment of this distinctive and beautiful art form.

This year’s program is particularly compelling. It turns out that some of the works hitherto attributed to the most famous of all whaleman artists, Edward Burdett of Nantucket, may actually have been produced by someone else — and an Englishman at that. So like some of the great works previously thought to have been painted by Rembrandt, some scrimshaw attributions have now become controversial. Collector and scrimshaw historian Judge Paul Vardeman of Kansas City, Mo., will produce the evidence and make the surprising case for “The Two Burdetts: New Perspectives on the Genesis of Pictorial Scrimshaw.”

In altogether different kinds of surveys, antiques sleuth Richard Donnelly of Barrington, R.I., will reveal the hitherto hidden identity of the great so-called Mechanic Artisan; scrimshaw artist Ryan Cooper of Yarmouth, on Cape Cod, will speak about “The Tabua Gift of a Fiji Chief in the 1830s,” back-to-back with “Tabua and Palaoa: Royal Scrimshaw Collectors in Nineteenth-Century Polynesia” by Dr. Mary Malloy of the Sea Education Association and Harvard University.

Fred Calabretta of Mystic Seaport will address the scrimshaw of George Comer, a celebrated New Bedford whaling captain who was trained in field-collecting techniques by Franz Boas, collected artifacts for natural history museums, and lived among the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic.

There will also be reports on new insights into the lives, careers, and productions of other notable scrimshaw artists, the annual Market Report by Andrew Jacobson of Ipswich, Mass., the ad hoc exhibition of scrimshaw consigned to auction later in 2013, and the launch of a new book entitled Scrimshaw and Provenance, capped off by a profusely illustrated presentation of “Scrimshaw Treasures at Mystic Seaport” by Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus of the Whaling Museum, author of Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved, and host of the weekend event since 1989.

The Sunday fieldtrip will be hosted by Dr. Frank, together with scrimshaw historian Michael Gerstein and Paul O’Pecko of Mystic Seaport.

“This is one of my all-time favorite events at the Museum,” Stuart Frank commented. “The folks who attend are so interested, so companionable, and so welcoming of newcomers — with a big meal and lots of merriment in the middle — that it sometimes seems like what an ideal family Thanksgiving is supposed to be. It’s great fun and I always learn a lot.” The people seem to agree: participation is truly national, and in recent years friends made at the Scrimshaw Weekend have been exchanging off-season visits to one another in New England, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and elsewhere.

The fourth annual Nautical Antiques Show kicks off the weekend’s activities on Friday, May 17, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. featuring for sale high quality marine antiques including scrimshaw, nautical instruments and tools, whaling logbooks, ship models, photos, paintings, prints, New Bedford memorabilia, and more in the Jacobs Family Gallery. Admission to the Nautical Antiques Show is included in Scrimshaw Weekend tuition; $5 for the general public, or free with museum admission or membership.

Scrimshaw Weekend tuition for the Friday and Saturday sessions, including Nautical Antiques Show, buffet lunch, sumptuous Saturday evening dinner & program, and admission to all open galleries & exhibitions at the Museum is $335 ($370 after May 1); $295 for Museum members ($330 after May 1). Tickets to Saturday’s banquet only may be purchased for $75 each. Call to reserve seats for the optional fieldtrip to Mystic on Sunday, May 19.

For more information or to register, please contact visitor services at (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org.

Special hotel room rates are available for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees. Call for details: Fairfield Inn and Suites New Bedford by Marriott, 185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, MA 02740 (Tel. 774.634.2000), and Hampton Inn New Bedford/Fairhaven, 1 Hampton Way, Fairhaven, MA 02719 (Tel. 508.990.8500).

Full scholarships are available to university-level students, courtesy of Ronald Bourgeault and Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is grateful to Northeast Auctions and the Maine Antique Digest for their generous support of what promises to be another great event.

The Art of the Ship Model, Feb. 28

R. Michael Wall and Judy Lund co-curate The Art of the Ship Model.

R. Michael Wall and Judy Lund co-curate The Art of the Ship Model.

The Art of the Ship Model, a comprehensive new exhibit opens with a members’ reception and lecture on Thursday, February 28 at 6:00 p.m. at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The exhibit opens to the public on March 1.

Organized by R. Michael Wall, proprietor of the American Marine Model Gallery in Gloucester, Mass., and Judith Lund, former curator of the museum, the exhibit features a wide range of models selected to depict ensembles of New Bedford area yachting, American whaleboats, vintage half hulls, ethnological northwest (Arctic) small craft, and whaling vessels from the age of sail to modern catcher boats. Examples include early 19th century models selected from the collections of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, the Kendall Whaling Museum and some acquired on loan. Many of the models have not been seen in years.

A recognized authority, Wall has spent 35 years researching, assessing and brokering ship models. He brings a discerning eye to the exhibit, assembling a selection of works that demonstrate the artistry of the builders. At 7:00 p.m. he will give an illustrated talk titled The Art of the Ship Model: Collections of the Past, Present and Future in the Cook Memorial Theater, the opening lecture of the 2013 Sailors’ Series. The lecture and reception are free for members and $20 for non-members. Museum memberships are available at the door.

Sponsored by the Kenneth T. & Mildred S. Gammons Foundation, the exhibit will enable a ret­rospective evaluation of ship models: what they represent, their purpose, a chronological review of their naval architectural design, as well as the ethnology or cultural relationships they reveal.

Just as five marine painters can independently approach the subject of capturing a particular vessel’s characteristics via the craft of drawing and creative application of paint, so too could five different marine model artists provide their mod­els with equivalent craft and unique artistry. Works by notable professional modelers such as Erik Ronnberg, Jr., Michael Costagliola, Roger Ham­bidge and many others will exemplify this creative aspect.

The show will guide the visitor through ways to look at ship models from this artistic per­spective, as well as how to identify their merits in relationship to recognized standards of “museum quality” craftsmanship. Such standards are based upon a consensus of construction specifications developed by the Smithsonian Institution, The Mariners’ Museum, and Mystic Seaport Museum as published in 1980. This publication, titled “Ship Model Classification Guidelines,” provides both the model artist and the collector with ways to analyze such pieces. Additionally, the exhibit will dis­cuss how some of the models were made, their research or lack thereof, their often creative pre­sentation, all of which will convey a new sense of connoisseurship to the viewer.

Maya textiles exhibit and local weaving demo, March 2

Maya_WeaverWeaving Stories, Weaving Lives: Maya Textiles from Guatemala and New Bedford will be on exhibit from February 18 through April 7 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in partnership with the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University.

Maya weaving tells stories. It is rooted in tradition, and alive today. The exhibit features historic garments from Guatemala, and garments being made today in New Bedford by Maya weavers using their traditional back-strap loom. Join in this celebration of a new chapter in New Bedford’s long tradition of textile manufacturing. Now through April admission to the Whaling Museum is free to those who live in New Bedford, made possible by a grant from BayCoast Bank.

On Saturday March 2nd at 2:00 p.m. see local Maya weavers use the back-strap loom to create beautiful textiles of personal expression. During school vacation week (February 19-22), bring your family to enjoy Maya textile related crafts and other activities offered at no cost from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tweet the exhibit at #weavinglives.

Maya textiles from the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology (Brown University) and the weaving collective Oxib’B’atz (New Bedford) celebrate the artistry of Maya weaving, a storytelling practice rooted in tradition that remains an essential form of expression to this day. Anthropologist Margot Blum Schevill recently donated her extensive textile collection, gathered during the 1970s, to the Haffenreffer Museum. Locally, Oxib’B’atz continues weaving using the traditional back-strap loom.

Co-curated by Anna Ghublikian and María D. Quintero, the exhibit looks at historic and contemporary garments, which reflect a new understanding about the role of textile manufacturing in the history of New Bedford and those who have made it their home.

Exhibición de textiles maya presenta una tradicion artistica con una demostración del tejido el 2 de marzo

Tejiendo historias, Tejiendo Vidas: Textiles Maya de Guatemala y New Bedford estará expuesto de 18 de febrero hasta el 7 de abril en el New Bedford Whaling Museum en asociación con el Museo Haffenreffer de Antropología en Brown University.

El tejido Maya comparte historias. Está arraigado en tradición, y continua vivo hoy. Vea vestuarios históricos de Guatemala, y textiles hechos hoy en New Bedford por tejedores Maya que mantienen sus prácticas culturales. Venga a celebrar este nuevo capítulo en la tradición larga de la fabricación de textil en New Bedford. Desde hoy hasta el fin de Abril el New Bedford Whaling Museum es gratis para los que viven en New Bedford, hecho posible por un subsidio de BayCoast Bank.

El sábado 2 de marzo a las 2:00 de la tarde vengan a ver tejedores locales maya tejer en la foma tradicional para crear hermosos textiles de expresión personal. Durante la semana de vacaiones escolares (Febrero19-22), traiga a su familia para disfrutar de actividades relacionados a los tejidos maya de las 10:00 de la mañana a 12:00 de la tarde in costo alguno.

Los tejidos maya del Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology (Brown University) y tejidos del collectivo Oxib’B’atz (New Bedford) celebrarán la creatividad artistica del tejido maya, una práctica narrativa arraigada en tradición que persiste como una forma esencial de expresión hasta este día. Recientemente, antropóloga Margot Blum Schevill donó los tejidos que colecto extensivamante desde los 1970s a el Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Localmente, Oxib’B’atz continua la práctica cultural del tejido maya,

Ésta exhibición, desarrollada por Anna Ghublikian y María D. Quintero, presenta vestuarios históricos y contemporáneos para reflejar una nueva comprensión de la fabricación de textil en la historia de New Bedford y la gente que lo habita.

Mundialmente, el New Bedford Whaling Museum es el mayor de los museos completamente dedicados a la historia global de ballenas, la pesca de ballenas y la historia cultural de la región. Como la piedra angular del New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, el Museo se encuentra en 18 Johnny Cake Hill en el corazón del centro histórico de la ciudad. Para un calendario completo de acontecimientos, visite el sito de web del museo: http://www.whalingmuseum.org.

El New Bedford Whaling Museum estará abierto de martes a sábados de 9am a 4pm y los domingos de 11am a 4pm.

Chocolate Primer, Feb. 9

A 'Chocolate Primer ' is mix sweet history & colonial cocoa sampling, Feb. 9

A Chocolate Primer will mix sweet history and colonial cocoa sampling, Feb. 9

Impress your Valentine with your knowledge of chocolate at a Pre-Valentine’s Day Chocolate Primer, on Saturday, February 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The free public event features talks by two chocolate historians and sampling of authentic colonial chocolate beverage recipes in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Chocolate became a highly regarded addition to ship’s fare on whaling and merchant vessels according to Chocolate: History Culture and Heritage, a definitive 1000-page reference on chocolate and its development as a global industry. Two of the book’s contributing authors will talk in the Cook Memorial Theater. The book is available in the Museum store.

Christopher Kelly will present “Chocolate at Sea: Use Aboard Whaling and Merchant Ships in the 19th Century” at 11:00 a.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Timothy D. Walker, Ph.D. will present “A History of Chocolate in early New England: Where does cocoa come from and how was it made?” at 1:00 p.m. in the theater.

Christopher Kelly is a writer musician, and filmmaker. A graduate of UMass Dartmouth’s History program, he conducted research on the use of chocolate aboard nineteenth century New Bedford whaling voyages.

Dr. Walker is an Associate Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he is also the Fulbright Program Advisor for faculty and students. He has served as Associate Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, is a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Portuguese Studies, and is an Affiliated Researcher of the Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. A New Bedford resident, Dr. Walker is a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

The program is sponsored by American Heritage Chocolate® – part of the historic division of Mars, Incorporated – which manufactures chocolate products using authentic colonial recipes made only from ingredients available during the 18th century, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, chili pepper, orange and vanilla. American Heritage Chocolate products will also be available for sale, with demonstrations and free samplings at 10:00 a.m. and noon.

Admission is free to the Pre-Valentine’s Day Chocolate Primer. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Regular admission rates apply to the Museum galleries.