Category Archives: Exhibition

Wood Foundation awards $300K for 3-year initiative

Gunga Tavares, Cultural Attaché of the Office of the Consulate General of Cape Verde, speaks at the press conference.

Gunga Tavares, Cultural Attaché of the Office of the Consulate General of Cape Verde, speaks at the press conference.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum has been awarded $300,000 from the William M. Wood Foundation over three years to support Lusophone initiatives. These initiatives will be geared towards new programming related to Azorean and Cape Verdean communities, museum president James Russell announced today at a noon press conference, which included trustees from the Wood Foundation, members of the Museum’s Portuguese and Cape Verdean Advisory committees, government officials and civic leaders.

The William M. Wood Foundation is a legacy of a grandson of William M. Wood (1858–1926), an immigrant from the Azores, whose father was an Azorean whaler on a New Bedford whale ship. His original named was William Silva. Wood began his career in textiles at the Wamsutta Mill, rising to become a textile magnate, eventually heading a mill conglomerate, which became the American Woolen Company.

The Foundation has supported the Museum since 2007 when it first funded Museum programs with a $25,000 grant. Since that time, it has awarded $310,000 in grants, and with today’s announcement its commitment will total $610,000 by 2014. The Trustees of the NBWM sincerely thanks Bank of America, Ed Condit and Rick Spaulding as trustees of the William Wood Foundation.

Additional funding for these programs comes from museum members, supporters of the Azorean Whaleman Gallery, the Fundação Luso-Americana, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the Schrafft Charitable Trust. Major donors include Mr. and Mrs. John W. Braitmayer, Mr. James G. DeMello, Dr. and Mrs. Norbert P. Fraga, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Petitti, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Pinheiro, and WJFD-FM, Inc.

Overview of the Project

Today, many Portuguese and Cape Verdean Americans trace their roots back to those who manned whaling voyages. That New Bedford was the capital of that industry makes it a veritable “Portuguese Ellis Island.” An integrated exhibition, education and outreach package, “Yankee Baleeiros!” is a direct outcome of more than 14 years of collaboration between the Museum and New Bedford’s Portuguese and Cape Verdean communities. Baleeiros (Portuguese for whalers) builds on the historic connection between whaling and the Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) communities and offers a lens through which to explore larger humanities themes surrounding immigration, assimilation, cultural and ethnic identity, diversity, globalization and the pursuit of the American dream.

Top-Line Objectives and Goals

The twin objectives of “Yankee Baleeiros!” are: 1. Celebrate locally through exhibits and programs the accomplishments of the Cape Verdean and Portuguese community and orient the Museum as a place to showcase these rich traditions and heritages; 2. as a traveling exhibition to allow the Museum to extend the impact of its scholarship and interpretation to identified communities across the United States.

“Yankee Baleeiros!” will begin in January 2013, and continue through December 2015. Two committees at the Museum oversee the strategic direction of this project—the Portuguese Advisory and Cape Verdean Advisory Committees. Both committees are chaired by trustees and enjoy the full support of the consular and ambassadorial offices of both nations.

“Yankee Baleeiros!” has four major goals: 1. Upgrade the current permanent exhibitions on the Azores and Cape Verde with interactive and iconic elements as identified by the Advisory Committees; 2. Develop and present an adaptable travelling Lusophone exhibition; 3. Work with the Advisory Committees to present a robust and meaningful agenda of locally focused educational programs and community activities; 4. Develop digital initiatives and web content for both on-site and far reaching effect.

As of this announcement, the travelling exhibition will be presented at Mystic Seaport, Battleship Cove in Fall River, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Bristol R.I. Newark Museum, N.J., San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the Portuguese Historical Museum, San José, Calif.

Related programming specified to-date includes publication of a major anthology, titled “The Dabneys: A Bostonian Family in the Azores, 1806-1871”; a comprehensive online database of crew members aboard New Bedford whale ships (in collaboration with the NB Port Society and the NB Free Public Library); development of Portuguese language audio tours of the museum; collaborative programming and support for the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society and the 6th International Azorean Whaleboat Regatta; construction of a ½ scale Azorean whaleboat by master shipwright João Tavares from the island of Pico; an international symposium to coincide with the arrival of the whale ship, Charles W. Morgan, and three years of onsite community programs celebrating Lusophone culture and its impact on the growth of America.

Historical Background

Whaling from New Bedford had pronounced participation by Portuguese speaking people that resulted in the broad dispersal of Portuguese islanders in the U.S., with large communities settling in New London, Honolulu, San Francisco, San Diego, and western Alaska. It was on whaling voyages that the first Azorean and Cape Verdean mariners joined American crew. Early on, ships used the islands of the Atlantic as a regular leg of transatlantic travel. George Washington established a U.S. consulate in the Azores as early as 1795 due to the islands’ strategic importance to the young nation’s maritime commerce.

Subsequently, America’s diplomatic ties with Cape Verde, St. Helena, Peru, Chile, Tahiti, Hawaii, New South Wales, Tasmania, and New Zealand enabled Yankee whaling agents to plan their global enterprise. As the industry grew so did its Portuguese-speaking crews, as many vessels first headed for the Azores and Cape Verde where captains often recruited islanders to fill out a ship’s company.

Fifteen Years of Commitment

Boosted by a remarkable $500,000 gift from the Government of Portugal in 1998, the Whaling Museum’s trustees and advisors embarked on 15 years of programs and exhibits related to Lusophone themes. It continues to expand its permanent galleries to interpret the shared maritime heritage of local communities rooted in the Portuguese-speaking islands as part of a comprehensive and inclusive story of the region’s history.

In 2000 a protocol was signed between the Museum and the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed by a second protocol in 2012 with two branches of the National Park Service New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (NBWNHP), San Francisco Maritime National Park (SFMNP) and the Regional Government of the Azores. These protocols commit to a spirit of multi-year joint programming among all the entities. The Museum expects to sign a similar “Framework of Cooperation” with the Government of Cape Verde in early 2013.

The Azorean Whaleman Gallery (2010) and Cape Verdean Maritime Exhibit (2011) feature in-depth bilingual content. In 2012, they were augmented with “A Voyage Around the World,” an adjacent exhibit highlighting other major areas of historic whaling influenced by the Luso-whalers in Brazil, Polynesia, Hawaii, California, the northwest coast of North America and the Western Arctic.

Multimedia technology plays a central role in programs, exhibits and web-based teaching content, providing an economical, high-impact method for K-12 standards-based educational programming as well as in symposia, lectures and cultural events.

The Portuguese Advisory and Cape Verdean Advisory Committees oversee the strategic direction of the 3-year initiative, with the support of the consular and ambassadorial offices of both nations.

Members include: Dr. Graca Fonseca, Consul of Portugal in New Bedford; Dr. Pedro Graciano de Carvalho, Consul-General of Cape Verde in Boston; Rep. Antonio F. D. “Tony” Cabral, Massachusetts House of Representatives 13th Bristol District; Patricia Andrade, MD, co-chair, Cape Verdean Advisory Committee, museum trustee and general surgeon, St. Luke’s Hospital; Eugene Monteiro, co-chair, Cape Verdean Advisory Committee, museum trustee and former Chief Probation Officer, Bristol Superior Court; John Pinheiro, co-chair, Portuguese Advisory Committee, former museum trustee, founding member and AMHS past president; Brian Rothschild, Ph.D., co-chair, Portuguese Advisory Committee, former museum trustee and professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD).

Scholarship Advisors include: Onesimo Almeida, Ph.D., Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University; Prof. Carlos Almeida, Portuguese Lecturer, UMD and advisor to the Cape Verdean Student Association; Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of Marketing, Charlton College of Business, Director, UMD Center for Marketing Research Marcia Dutra, guest curator from the University of the Azores; Marilyn Halter, Professor of History, Director of Graduate Studies, American and New England Studies Research Associate, Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA), Boston University; Dr. Frank Sousa, Professor of Portuguese and Director, UMD Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture; Gunga Tavares, Cultural Attaché, Office of the Consulate General of Cape Verde; Miguel Vaz, Director, Fundação Luso-Americana; Timothy Walker, Ph.D. Associate Professor of History & Associate Director, UMD Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture; Donald Warrin, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

Museum Advisory Committee members include: Thomas Alves, founding member, Azorean Maritime Heritage Society (AMHS) and past president of the Prince Henry Society, New Bedford Chapter; Candida Rose Baptista, museum trustee and professional Cape Verdean vocalist; Ron Barboza, Cape Verdean photographer; Manuel Branco, member of the museum’s National Leadership Council; William do Carmo, museum trustee, president of Carmo & Associates, Consultants, Real Estate and Construction; Carl Cruz, former museum trustee and past president of the Ernestina-Morrissey Historical Association; James G. DeMello, retired President and CEO of Acushnet Rubber Co. and member of St. Luke’s Business Council, Southcoast Hospitals Group; Hon. Armand Fernandes, museum trustee and retired judge, Bristol County Probate Court; Elsie and Norbert Fraga; Jack Livramento, New Bedford School Committee member; Jennifer Nersesian, Superintendent, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park; Alda Petitti, past director, CBIZ Tofias, past director of the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States; Victor Pinheiro, former city councilor, founding member and current AMHS president; Jose Soares, president of Baystate Drywall and leader of the Azorean whaleboat project.

3 exhibit openings in November share maritime themes

“White Island Lighthouse,” Harry Neyland, 1906, is one of several works by famous local artists in “Celebrating Generosity: Gifts from the Eliot S. Knowles Collection.”

Three new exhibitions premiere simultaneously in November at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The exhibits, titled Celebrating Generosity: the Eliot S. Knowles Collection, Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex; Paintings by Jason Hancock, and Signifying the Whale; a crowd-sourced exhibit from the digital realm, opens to the public Nov. 2.

Peggy Rodgers, Judith N. Lund, Ph.D., and Mary Jean Blasdale, Chair of the Collections Committee, are guest-curators of Celebrating Generosity.

Eliot Stetson Knowles (1916-2002), became the thirteenth president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in 1973 after serving six years as its treasurer. His leadership and generosity is celebrated in a new exhibition of works, which he and his wife, artist Betty Kirkendall collected over decades. Theirs grew to be the largest private collection of art of the New Bedford region, including such well-known artists as William Bradford, William Allen Wall, Clement Nye Swift, Charles H. Gifford, and Harry Neyland.

Opening concurrently, an exhibition by contemporary artist, Jason Hancock, titled Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex, takes visual elements from Moby-Dick to create a series of new paintings that express the turbulent nature of the whaling seas. Capped by sunrise and sunset upon the ocean, Hancock’s work examines the parameters of opposites and excess.

Harold Davis dubbed his photo of a wet cyclamen “Moby Dick” because the flower looked to him like the white whale. Davis’ work and many others are part of a crowd-sourced digital exhibition titled “Signifying the Whale.” (© Harold Davis)

Curated by Michael A. Lapides, Director of Digital Initiatives, the third exhibit, titled Signifying the Whale evolved from the Museum’s 2003 Whaling History Symposium presentation by Zubeda Jalalzai and Jason Fiering entitled Wayside Whaling. In it, they investigated the connections between popular icons in contemporary New Bedford, its once dominant but now defunct whaling industry and the enduring language of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale The new exhibit, which follows in the path of two former museum exhibitions, Imagining Moby and Visualizing Melville, is an invitation to discover the leviathan, through imagery and words… wherever it can be found.

A photo group within the website Flickr expands into this exhibit and the public is invited to participate by posting images of “signified” (symbolic), or artistically rendered whales to the image pool. Actual whale photos will be excluded.

This crowd-sourced exhibition will continually expand with images in the Flickr pool, ultimately joining the exhibit, which will be administered by museum curators and updated weekly.

“Vortex (Dusk) Number One” by Jason Hancock

Anyone may submit an image. Email to . The Museum will post contributed images to its Flickr photo group with credit and copyright pointing back to creators.

Glass Symposium Sept. 13-15

Mt. Washington and Pairpoint glass experts, collectors and fans will gather for the New Bedford Glass Symposium at the Whaling Museum, September 13-15. The event features three days of activities, including the opening of a new permanent glass gallery.

The symposium kicks off on Thursday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m. with a lecture titled New Bedford Glass in Corning presented by Jane Shadel Spillman. A reception and book signing in the Jacobs Family Gallery at 6:00 p.m. precedes the lecture.

Jane Shadel Spillman is Curator of American glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. The author of numerous articles and books, Ms. Spillman recently curated the 2011 Mt. Washington and Pairpoint exhibition at Corning. She is secretary of the International Association for the History of Glass and editor of The Glass Club Bulletin for the National American Glass Club.

Friday events include a tour to the New Bedford Museum of Glass with NBMOG president Kirk Nelson, the annual meeting of the Mt. Washington & Pairpoint Glass Society, and a lecture at 3:15 p.m. by Jill Thomas-Clark, titled Crown Pairpoint: The French Connection” in the Cook Memorial Theater. Ms. Thomas-Clark is Rights and Reproductions Manager at the Rakow Research Library, Corning Museum of Glass. The day concludes with the opening at 5:30 p.m. of a new permanent glass gallery, Glass from the City of Light, guest-curated by Kirk Nelson, and sponsored by the Leonard S. and Hilda Kaplan Charitable Foundation.

Saturday events include an 8:30 a.m. field trip to the 25th Annual Antique & Collectible Glass Show & Sale sponsored by the Sandwich Glass Museum.

At 3:00 p.m. Laura Coffin will present an illustrated lecture titled Mt. Washington’s Lava (“Sicilian”) Glass. Laura A. Coffin is assistant director, New Bedford Museum of Glass. She has published several articles on glass topics and serves as Co-Seminar Liaison for the National American Glass Club.

At 4:00 p.m. Marion & Sandra Frost will present Pairpoint Research Goes Digital. Marion and Sandra Frost are authors of “The Comprehensive Guide to Pairpoint Glass: Shapes and Patterns” and “The Essence of Pairpoint.”

A cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery will be followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. and a public auction of period glass at 8:00 p.m.

Registration: $225.00 for members of NBWM, NBMOG and MWPGS / $250.00 for nonmembers (Includes all events and fees) or $25 per lecture. $75.00 for Saturday Dinner and Auction only. To register: or call (508) 997-0046, ext. 100.

The New Bedford Glass Symposium is sponsored by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford Museum of Glass, and Mt. Washington & Pairpoint Glass Society

54th Regiment in words, music and art, August 9

Saint-Gaudens exhibit in the Jacobs Family Gallery

As part of ongoing observances of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Whaling Museum is hosting Heroes in Bronze; the 54th Regiment in words, music and art on AHA! Night, Thursday, August 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in partnership with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the New Bedford Historical Society. The evening will feature a free public lecture by a national expert, Civil War re-enactors, fife & drum, readings and a youth performance.

At 6:00 p.m. members of the Boston Fife & Drum Service will lead a procession from 54th Regiment Plaza (William Street and Acushnet Avenue) to the Whaling Museum Plaza. They will be joined by some of the re-enactors of the Boston-based 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company A. Members of Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, and Company K, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry will also accompany the 54th re-enactors.

At 6:15 p.m. members of the New Bedford Historical Society will read excerpts of letters from the 54th Regiment on the museum plaza, followed at 6:45 p.m. by a performance of “54,” an original work by the Youth Ambassador Program.

At 7:00 p.m. Dr. Henry J. Duffy will present an illustrated lecture, Robert Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Consecration and Monument, in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Dr. Duffy is Curator at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. He holds a doctorate in Art History from Rutgers University and previously worked with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. An author and lecturer on Saint-Gaudens, nineteenth-century art and culture, Dr. Duffy has also appeared as a commentator on A&E America’s Castles.

The Youth Ambassador Program (YAP!) is a partnership program between the National Park and Third EyE Unlimited Youth Empowerment, where teens communicate national park themes through hip-hop culture and social media outreach, including creating music and videos about local, regional, and national park themes.

Dr. Henry J. Duffy, Curator of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, will speak at 7pm in the Cook Memorial Theater

 The evening’s events highlight the museum’s continuing exhibition of the bronzed busts for the 1897 monument on Boston Common honoring the regiment. The busts are on loan from the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial was created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). Fourteen years in the making, it depicts the 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street in 1863 led by Captain Shaw.

Leading his regiment in the assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina, Shaw was killed with more than 50 of his soldiers in 1863 and buried with his men on the battlefield. Another 149 were wounded. The first African-American unit to fight for the North, the 54th ultimately suffered 272 casualties, the highest total for a single engagement during the war.

Men were recruited from throughout the region, especially New Bedford. Sergeant William Carney of the city received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor at the Battle of Fort Wagner.

Following William Bradford to the Frozen North

Counting the hours until launch. In a couple days I’ll be  one of a small group heading to  Greenland as we retrace William Bradford’s final Arctic voyage one hundred and forty-three years later. The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in April of 2013, will be republishing a modern edition of Bradford’s Arctic Regions in conjunction with our upcoming exhibit  Arctic Visions: Away then Float the Ice Island.

The Chasing the Light voyage was first envisioned a few years ago by Rena Bass Forman (1954-2011). At that time it seemed to me more a dream than opportunity to be taken. Instead, through the generosity of private donors and with careful planning this dream is now a reality. As artist and photographer Rena was inspired by Bradford’s work, but more specifically the photography incorporated within Arctic Regions as executed by Boston photographers John L. Dunmore and George Critcherson.

Castle Berg in Melville Bay over two hundred feet high.

Their photographs were the first taken in the high Arctic. At that time the theory of an Ice Age was still new, and the concept of an open Polar Sea was popular, though not proven. This perspective sits in contrast to our knowledge today; and to the discussion revolving around natural and manmade climate change; and the fact that Polar Sea is now opening up.  Then, like today, the public was hungry for news about ice, glaciers, and survival in one of the most remote regions of our planet.

Our Arctic Visions: Away then Float the Ice Island exhibit will run for two years. Adjacent to it we will feature a series of contemporary exhibits that will relate to the parallel narratives Bradford and fellow voyager and Arctic Explorer Isaac Israel Hayes developed. We will open this series with Rena Bass Forman’s exhibit also named Chasing the Light.

Our group of eleven voyagers includes: artists, explorers, photographers, filmmaker, teacher, polar guides, and curator. We hold to our core a thirst to explore and create, passed to us most recently from Rena, and through the centuries from Bradford and like-minded artists.

Engage with the developing exhibits and programming process via our Department of Digital Initiatives wiki. There you will find resources including an extensive reading list including a link to the draft transcription of Arctic Regions.

My role at the Museum, in addition to being Photography Curator, is as Director of the Department of Digital Initiatives.  I am, we are fully immersed within the “digital stream”. Follow William Bradford and Isaac Israel Hayes’s narratives via twitter, get voyage updates through Facebook and this blog, and upon our return and before the end of September catch the launch of our project-based microsite.

The Chasing the Light voyage will be carrying flags from The Explorers ClubThe Royal Canadian Geographic SocietyWings WorldQuest, and The New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Heroes in Bronze

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw’s illustrated portrait from Harper’s 1894 “Pictorial History of the Civil War” (left) and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ model for the 1897 Shaw Memorial, part of a free exhibit, through October 15, 2012.

As part of a multiyear observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is hosting a free public exhibit of heads of soldiers from the legendary Massachusetts 54th Regiment modeled in bronze by famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907).

Leading his regiment in the assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was killed with more than 50 of his soldiers on July 18, 1863. Another 149 were wounded. Shaw was buried with his men on the battlefield. The 54th ultimately suffered 272 casualties, the highest total for a single engagement during the war.

In 1897, Boston erected the Shaw Memorial, a bronze relief sculpture on the Common, to commemorate the regiment. The work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the Memorial depicts the 54th Regiment marching down Beacon Street to war on May 28, 1863.

Many men were recruited in New Bedford, including Sergeant William Carney who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor at the Battle of Fort Wagner. The first African American unit to fight in the war, the 54th Regiment was memorialized in the 1989 Academy Award winning film, Glory.

The bronze heads on exhibit were models for the final monument and are on loan from the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. Curated by Melanie Correia, the exhibit also includes Civil War related items from the Whaling Museum’s collection. The exhibit closes October 15, 2012.

Four new exhibits launch at summer open house, June 23

Four major new exhibits open the summer season during a free admission Open House on Saturday, June 23 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The public event includes four combined grand openings, festivities, music, artists’ talks, and family activities museum-wide.

Several musical groups will be on hand throughout the afternoon to perform music associated with the global themes of the new exhibits. The New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus will perform traditional maritime favorites. The Jim Robitaille Trio, along with vocalist Lori Colombo, will present Brazilian Jazz accompanied by Jim Peterson on bass and Chris Poudrier on drums. The Napua O Polynesia Dance Troupe will include several authentic dancers, drummers and ukulele players.

Ongoing children’s activities will be offered in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Opening simultaneously, the four exhibits are titled  John Stobart – a Retrospective, Go a-whaling I mustA Voyage Around the World, and  A Man and His Journey – President Aristides Pereira.

John Stobart – A Retrospective is a broad cross-section of paintings, prints, and sketches drawn from an extensive body of work selected by the artist from throughout his career. John will be present at the opening and will talk in the gallery about his work.

John Stobart studied in England at the Derby College of Art and the prestigious Royal Academy Schools in London. Commissions from several shipping companies featured his paintings in their London boardrooms and on their annual calendars. John came to the U.S. with four paintings carefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, under his arm, and he has never looked back.

Over the past half-century he has built upon his interest in the maritime world and painting en plein air to build a body of work that many within the world of contemporary maritime arts find central to the genre.

His realistic style, capturing historic scenes of ports around the world, succeeds in large part through extensive research into the historic locations and vessels he paints. Stobart’s inspired work has reached broad audiences through exhibitions at maritime museums, several galleries, a large catalog of limited edition prints, and a series of paintings he created on a PBS television series. The retrospective closes September 30, 2012.

Go a-whaling I Must is a new exhibit in the Bourne Building, which presents whaling from the perspective of a new recruit. From your first encounter with whaling agent Jonathan Bourne (1811-1889) to your voyage’s end and your payout at the conclusion of the exhibit (and an imagined two-year voyage between) you’ll encounter the men, materiel, and activities aboard a typical whaling vessel like the museum’s iconic half-scale Lagoda.

Drawing from the Museum’s immense collections, the exhibit demonstrates the dangers of going to sea to do battle with the world’s largest animals. From “Thar she blows!” to “Homeward Bound,” all of the hard work, skill and bravery required by a New Bedford whaler will come to life!

After years away how much would you be paid? How about Jonathan Bourne who you met at the outset? You might be surprised what your final take will be. Michael P. Dyer, Maritime Curator, will speak in the exhibit areas with visitors during the open house

A Voyage Around the World is a new exhibit which continues on the global voyage from the new Azorean Whaleman Gallery and Cape Verdean Maritime Exhibit. Grab your passport and experience a new world encountered by New Bedford whalers.

Voyages connected world cultures through commerce and helped establish American influence in far-flung ports. Through both commercial activity and crewmen enlisting and disembarking, these voyages set in place the initial patterns of immigration.

The exhibit is a wide sampling of the diverse cultures encountered, with a focus on Brazil, California, Hawaii, and Alaska where the influence of Portuguese crew and their legacy become clear.

New Bedford whalemen returned home with exotic items from the many Pacific Islands including the lush Galapagos, Marquesas, and beyond to Fiji, and Samoa. The exhibit combines art, artifacts and ethnographic objects representative of these cultures as well as 19th century and early 20th century illustrations, sea charts, prints, logbooks, and journals to create a powerful and evocative interpretation of the Portuguese experience in the Yankee whale fishery as it encountered diverse communities.

A Man and His Journey is a traveling photo tribute exhibit that tells the remarkable story of Aristides Pereira (1923 – 2011), first President of the Republic of Cape Verde, after the former Portuguese colony achieved independence in 1975. The exhibit is guest curated by Ronald Barboza, a Cape Verdean American photographer who chronicled the late leader’s life for decades.

Pereira was a frequent visitor to New Bedford and its large Cape Verdean community. A year after Cape Verdean independence in 1976, on the occasion of the bicentennial of American independence, Pereira presented the vessel Ernestina to the “people of the United States” to symbolize the strong historical and cultural connections between New Bedford and the island nation. In 1983, he became the first head of state to visit the Whaling Museum. “A Man and His Journey” closes August 12, 2012.

The exhibitions are generously supported by: The Kenneth T. & Mildred S. Gammons Charitable Foundation, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Foundation, Tauck’s World of Giving, Boston Marine Society, Nye Lubricants, Inc., and John Matouk & Co.

Da Silva exhibit celebrates Day of Portugal

Palavras e Pinturas: Historias de Portugal (Words and Paintings: Histories of Portugal), a free public exhibition of works by Karen E. da Silva, Ph.D. will be on view June 7-10 in the Jacobs Family Gallery, part of Day of Portugal weekend celebrations.

An author and artist, Dr. da Silva is American born. She is an educator and lives in Shelton, Connecticut with her husband, Augusto, who was born in central Portugal. In their frequent travels to Portugal, Karen was deeply inspired by the beauty, way of life, traditions, and culture of the country. She captured it in her daily journals in words and pictures, recorded the stories that Augusto told about growing up there, and painted from sketches and photographs in her home studio. The exhibition includes these stories in words and pictures as well as the nine picture books that she has written.

Of the exhibition, the artist noted, “My goal in this work is to honor the beauty and spirit of Portugal, its culture and traditions, and to let children and adults see how words and pictures work together to tell stories, to celebrate memories of childhood, and to inspire others to tell their stories. A good story becomes everyone’s story.”

The exhibition is sponsored by the Consulate of Portugal, New Bedford; Committee for the Day of Portugal; Portuguese United for Education; Azorean Maritime Heritage Society; and WJFD.

Annual Meeting, remembrance, graduation and exhibit, May 18

The 109th Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society – New Bedford Whaling Museum will take place Friday, May 18 at 4:00 pm. in the Cook Memorial Theater. Annual Meeting Day events include a memorial service for museum volunteers, a graduation ceremony for museum apprentices, and an exhibit opening and reception. The public is cordially invited to attend all events.

At 3:00 p.m., the museum’s Volunteer Council will host a “Volunteer and Trustee Remembrance” in the Seamen’s Bethel, located adjacent to the museum on Johnny Cake Hill. Family, friends and associates are invited to join volunteers and the board of trustees as they gather in fond remembrance of departed members.

At 4:00 p.m. the 109th Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society – New Bedford Whaling Museum takes place in the Cook Memorial Theater and includes a review of the past year’s activities, election of officers, and incoming members of the Board of Trustees, Class of 2015.

Immediately following the Annual Meeting, the 3rd annual graduation ceremony for the graduating apprentices of the New Bedford Whaling Museum Apprentice Program, Class of 2012 will commence in the Theater.

At 5:30 p.m. by an exhibition of new paintings titled Dora Atwater Millikin: New Bedford Harbor Today, opens in the Centre Street Gallery – Level II. A reception in the Jacobs Family Gallery follows the opening.

GNB Voc-Tech students’ skills shine at the Whaling Museum

Mark Leary, Korey Martin and Dana Costa install custom doors and panels made by GNB Voc-Tech carpentry students for “Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers” opening May 13, 2pm.

Building the many and varied display cases needed for the world’s largest scrimshaw exhibit would have been a daunting task were it not for the students of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. Voc-Tech’s carpentry classes fabricated more than 29 custom doors and viewing panels for the new gallery, set to open to the public on Mothers Day, Sunday, May 13 at 2:00 p.m.

James Russell, museum president, lauded the students’ work, noting “How great is it that much of what we admire in the museum’s collection was made by master craftsmen! Today, skilled students from Voc-Tech are back at the museum, helping to build exhibits that house these masterpieces – to be enjoyed by New Bedford residents and visitors for years to come.”

The museum’s staff, designers and carpenters worked with GNB Voc-Tech’s coordinator of construction projects, Robert Gomes, and carpentry teacher, Donald Derosiers, on the exacting specifications for the elaborate cabinetry required to exhibit hundreds of rare examples of scrimshaw – the 19th century shipboard art of whalers. Students utilized the school’s state-of-the-art CNC (computer numerical control) milling machinery to create the seamless doorframes and panels.

Master carpenter, Dana Costa, rebuilt and refitted existing museum cases and installed the Voc-Tech components with the assistance of Mark Leary and Korey Martin.

The exhibit opening caps the museum’s 23rd annual Scrimshaw Weekend, May 11-13, which attracts scrimshaw experts, collectors and fans from around the world. Titled Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers, the exhibit is curated Dr. Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator, with the assistance of museum volunteers John Antones, Richard Donnelly, Michael Gerstein, Vasant Gideon, Judith Lund, Barbara Moss, Sanford Moss, Catherine Reynolds and James Vaccarino.

The largest permanent exhibit of its kind, Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers coincides with the launch of a major new book on scrimshaw, titled Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum by Dr. Frank – a 400-page reference with more than 700 photographs by Richard Donnelly.

Admission to the Sunday opening of the scrimshaw exhibit and book launch: regular admission rates apply. In honor of Mother’s Day, mothers are admitted free when accompanied by at least one member of her family.