Author Archives: katemello

Moby Dick Commercial

You know us, we love all things ‘whale’!  Check out this new AT&T commercial: a modern-day retelling of the literary classic “Moby Dick” through the features and functionality of the BlackBerry® Torch™.

May Wallpaper by artist Amy Ruppel

We always have our eyes out for anything whale-related!  So, you can bet I was very excited to find this May computer desktop wallpaper from artist Amy Ruppel.  Download it for free here!

Youth Internship and Apprenticeship Program

Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Congressman Barney Frank

Thursday, February 18
10:00 a.m.
Jacobs Family Gallery

Please join Congressman Barney Frank and Mayor Scott W. Lang, along with other legislators, local officials, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Board of Trustees to celebrate the launch of a new Youth Internship and Apprenticeship Program at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. This program of paid apprenticeships will provide a unique opportunity for local youth to learn a variety of museum skills and expand their scholastic horizons throughout the academic year and summer months.

Join us in congratulating the first group of Whaling Museum Apprentices and recognizing the program’s generous funders: The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement/Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO), the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, The Howard Bayne Fund, The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, and Bank of America.

A light reception will follow the event.

We want to see your photos!

Do you have pictures that you took at the Moby Dick Marathon, or on your visit to the NBWM? We would love to see them! Share them with the world by posting them onto our Flickr Group page.

Happy Holidays…

Happy Holidays from your friends at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Strong the Ties Our Natures Bind

by: Kate Mello, Photo Archivist

A woman in profile, seated and reading, 1898 Artist Unknown Watercolor on Paper Patient waiting was often the lot of women whose men had gone to sea. 00.129.4, NBWM

When I play the scenario of whaling voyages in my head, it often looks something like this: the young bride sitting at home, patiently awaiting the return of her husband, and the whalers at sea thinking tirelessly of the ladies waiting for them at home.  Perhaps that is just the romantic in me, but I decided to find out how much truth there was to this scenario.  I decided a great place to start would be the collection of logbooks, and my discoveries were placed on exhibit in the aptly titled “Discoveries Case” in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Among the objects presented in this case are some logbooks that served as day-to-day records of events aboard a ship.  In them was listed vital information such as weather conditions, dates of significant incidents, names of ports of call and dates visited. Also recorded were the number of whales caught, and how many barrels of oil each whale yielded. It is not always known who kept each log, but in some cases it becomes irrelevant. The authors come to represent every whaler, distant from home, and the hardships that loved ones had to endure during the voyage.  Many times various items were pressed in between the pages of these important books.  Everything from pressed flowers and feathers to newspaper clippings and photographs has been found within the pages of the ship logs now belonging to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  These small items would have reminded a person of a specific time or of a loved one back home. These objects were treasured for their memories: the tintype that so literally represented family members, newspaper clippings gathered at various ports of poems whose words of love and longing rang true, the clipping of hair belonging to the young woman waiting at home.

The case features a selection of six logbooks with accompanying objects that once found a home within their pages. Included are four manuscript sheets written by Captain Eber C. Almy while onboard the New Bedford whalers Kathleen (1855 – 1857), and President (1869 – 1872).  Captain Almy repeatedly and obsessively wrote the names of his wife Charlotte A. Almy and his children, Eddie, Helen, and George, accompanied by the date. He obviously thought about them every day and had the documents to prove it.  The case also features a lock of hair found in the whaling journal of Charles H. Perkins of Dublin, New Hampshire kept onboard the ship Francis of New Bedford (1850 – 1852).  The long brown locks give the impression of a female lock of hair.

Arthur Leonard of schooner Beret J., 1924 Photographer Unknown Silver Gelatin Print The stress and toil that this mariner has undergone is evident in this rare photograph. 1995.9.1854

Separation was an everyday occurrence for the men, women and children of maritime communities. Whaling voyages spanned months, often years, and keepsakes became a means of remembrance for whalemen and their families. Voyages could last five years, or even longer, as ships would return only when their holds were filled with barrels of whale oil. Communication was slow, although letters were frequently written and responses painfully awaited. The objects offered in the recently installed Discoveries Case, at the entrance of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, represent the type of keepsake that reminded voyagers of their loved ones. These were found tucked away in between the pages of personal whaling journals, as one might tuck photos or notes into a diary today. They serve as the cherished reminders of people left behind when New Bedford mariners set sail, on their uncertain passages around the world.

“In New Bedford, it was always down the the sea in ships”

In New Bedford, it was always down the the sea in ships

By Anne Wallace Allen, Associated Press   Originally published on 11/15/2009 at

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Walk this city’s cobblestone streets and imagine the days when the whale-oil industry supported banks, mansions and small businesses. For 35 years, between 1825 and 1860, New Bedford, a city of around 100,000 on the Atlantic coast’s Buzzards Bay, was the busiest whaling port in the world.


Photo by Bob Thayer, The Providence Journal

And when the whaling industry declined, towns like New Bedford didn’t go away. They adapted to other uses of the sea. New Bedford became one of the busiest shipping ports in the country.

Now, with its blocks and blocks of original 19th-century buildings still intact, it’s a good place to visit with your family, a window into a vanished world only 35 miles from Providence. Start with the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where the specialized tools used to kill the whales at sea are presented in absorbing displays. The museum — the world’s largest, according to whaling scholars — also pays tribute to the huge creatures with three whale skeletons and a model of a North Atlantic right whale.

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Feds fund preservation of historical city bank records

Feds fund preservation of historical city bank records

By Charis Anderson   Originally published on 11/12/2009 at

UN.862_merchants bank books

NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Whaling Museum has been awarded a federal grant to catalog and preserve more than 1,800 books and ledgers spanning a century of financial activity at the Merchants Bank.

The $147,500 grant was announced Wednesday at a new conference held at the whaling museum’s research library on Purchase Street and attended by Rep. Barney Frank and other elected officials.

Read the rest of the article at

“Hot Rocks, Black Smokers and Life without Light…”

Monday, November 16th

7:30 P.M. Museum Theater

“Hot Rocks, Black Smokers and Life without Light: Exploring the Deep Ocean with Submersibles and Robots” with Susan Humphris,

Acting Vice President of Marine Facilities/OPS, Directorate, Senior Scientist and Acting Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations.
Humphris received her B.A./Hons., from the University of Lancaster, U.K., in 1972, in Environmental Sciences and her Ph.D. MIT/WHOI Joint Program, in 1977, in Chemical Oceanography. Her research interests are volcanic and tectonic controls on the distribution and characteristics of hydrothermal activity at mid-ocean ridges; geochemistry of rock-water interactions and the rate of the associated hydrothermal fluxes in global geochemical mass balances. Presented by the Sippican Philosophical Society and the NBWM, FREE

Paul Cuffe: Not just old history

The Whaling Museum recently held a Paul Cuffe symposium, celebrating his life and his legacy.  Read this SouthCoast Today article, to find out how Cuffe’s story is one that is quite pertinent to today.

GUEST VIEW: Paul Cuffe: Not just old history

By David C. Cole  October 03, 2009 at

A symposium celebrating the life of Paul Cuffe is to be held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum today, Oct. 3. This symposium is, on one level, a commemoration of a very remarkable local citizen who achieved great success and recognition despite the fact that he had no formal education, was of mixed African and Native American heritage, and lived a life rooted in a coastal country village.

But on another level, his experiences two centuries ago shed light on the enormity of those combined tragedies — slavery, colonialism, suppression of Native Americans and pervasive racial discrimination — that plagued our civilization for most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Silhouette of Captain Paul Cuffe, by Thomas Pole circa 1820 (1904.43)

Silhouette of Captain Paul Cuffe, by Thomas Pole circa 1820 (1904.43)

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