Category Archives: Apprentices

Science Tuesdays Start July 24

2011-2012 Apprentices

The Museum’s High School Apprentices returned for the Summer on July 9 and got to work immediately on creating and preparing for Science Tuesday programming. Working in teams of three, they chose the theme of their program, did the background research, created the displays and will lead the activities.

They invite you to join them from 1:00pm – 3:00pm in the Jacobs Family Gallery on July 24, July 31, August 7 and August 14 to learn about Mutations, Soil, Fossils and Sand. These programs are free with Museum admission and all involve activities that allow visitors to create a souvenir as a reminder of their participation.

Their blog entries/promo for their Science Tuesday activities can be found at Museum Greenhands.

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.

Fun Right Whale Day

Kids visit the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance craft tables during Right Whale Day 2012.

The families arrived early and came in a steady stream between 10a – 2p yesterday for Right Whale Day.  They worked their way through the right whale obstacle course created by our High School Apprentices; created origami and whale tale necklaces with New England Coastal Wildlife staff and tried on the blubber glove to test the insulating capacity of whale blubber. They were greeted by Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society staff as they entered WDCS’s 48ft inflatable right whale and learned important right whale information from NOAA education staff.  Many stayed for some tasty cake topped with a frosted right whale. We wrapped up the day with a 2pm viewing of Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship, a new documentary that highlights four innovative collaborations that have led to increased protection of our ocean resources.

We thank NECWA, WDCS, NOAA, our high school apprentices and WM docents and Facilities staff for their help in making yesterday’s festivities a success.

Young visitors try to 'swim' through the propeller strike obstacle safely.

Museum awarded $123,000 grant for its education programs

The Museum was awarded a $123,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a national foundation based in Jacksonville, Florida, which will allow the museum to sustain both its educational programs for school children and its innovative apprenticeship and internship programs.

In making the announcement, museum president James Russell applauded the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for investing in education in New Bedford and for strengthening the museum’s capacity to provide high quality public programs. Sustaining these programs is a top priority for the Museum’s Board of Trustees and Docent Volunteer Corps. He noted that the Museum’s educational mandate can continue without interruption in 2012.

Additionally Mr. Russell noted how gratifying it is that the work of the museum’s educators is getting recognized at a national level. It is a testament to the quality of their programs.

James Lopes, vice president of education and programming, said, “ The duPont grant will allow us to continue our educational mission and to expand access to our programs through the website, utilizing the museum’s vast collections. We restored Paul Cuffe to the forefront of regional history and we foster community-wide reading through popular public programs like the Moby-Dick Marathon with duPont’s help.”

The award provides substantial support to the museum’s youth apprenticeship program, a skills-development and professional work experience program for qualifying high school students in New Bedford that includes paid stipends to students totaling more than $44,000 per year.

Dr. Mary Louise Francis, Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools, called the museum “an important strategic partner in education and particularly for my school district, noting that it provides “a unique immersive educational experience unparalleled in the region.”

In 2011, the Museum welcomed 3,431 New Bedford students K-12 free of charge from 36 schools and student organizations for standards-based programs in science and history. All New Bedford students will receive free admission to the museum under the grant.

The Museum’s 85 active docents and volunteer corps contributed 23,321 hours – valued at more than $350,000 – to educational programming, student and public tours, community events, exhibitions, research and operations. They welcomed more than 90,000 visitors to the museum last year.

According to the New England Foundation for the Arts CultureCount Database, the museum generates an $8 million impact in cultural economic development for New Bedford. It regularly hosts community meetings and forums on a wide range of public issues and welcomes dignitaries and elected officials, showcasing the city’s illustrious maritime past to business leaders and economic development prospects.

Moby-Dick Marathon weekend features acclaimed tenor, Jan. 6-8

The 16th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates the 160th anniversary of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 6 – 8, 2012, including a performance by the critically acclaimed American tenor, Jonathan Boyd. Admission is free.

On Friday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. the weekend kicks off with a ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar in the Jacobs Family Gallery. For tickets to the dinner ($25), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by Dr. Timothy Marr, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. Co-editor of “Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick,” Professor Marr teaches American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and is a contributor to the Melville and the Digital Humanities project of the Melville Electronic Library.

On Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m., “Stump the Scholars II,” returns by popular demand – a free program in which the audience is invited to pose questions to Melville Society scholars on all matters Moby-Dick in the Cook Memorial Theater. Patterned after NPR’s popular quiz show, “Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” prizes will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.

At 11:30 a.m. in the Bourne Building, Melville Society members will read many of the 80 brief Extracts related to whales and whaling, which Melville included before Chapter 1.

At noon, the Moby-Dick Marathon begins with “Call me Ishmael” – the most famous opening line in American literature. With more than 150 scheduled readers, the marathon will continue through the night, ending early Sunday afternoon. All reading slots have been booked. The public is cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.

On Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m., marathon participants will walk next door to the historic Seamen’s Bethel (est. 1832) – located at 15

Tenor Jonathan Boyd will sing at the marathon, Jan. 7. Boyd stars in Jake Heggie's new opera, Moby-Dick, which premieres at the San Diego Opera in February. (photo:

Johnny Cake Hill for the reading of Chapters 7, 8, and 9, titled “The Chapel,” The Pulpit,” and “The Sermon” – all three chapters take place in the original “Whaleman’s Chapel.” This segment will feature a performance by Jonathan Boyd, the critically acclaimed American tenor starring in the San Diego Opera’s co-production of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a new opera hailed “a triumph” by the Dallas Morning News. Boyd has made recent notable debuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon, and has performed with opera companies throughout the United States. He will sing the hymn from Chapter 9.

Readers and guests are also invited to “Chat with a Melville Scholar” from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Wattles Family Gallery or take a guided tour of the “Imagining Moby!” exhibit with Dr. Robert Wallace, Northern Kentucky University.

Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” will be performed in the Cook Memorial Theater by members of Culture*Park, a theater and performing arts collaborative.

The Museum’s website will provide live streaming of the marathon throughout the weekend. Tweet the marathon with hashtag #MDM16.

Three related exhibits during the marathon include, “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. “Imagining Moby!” showcases the collection of Melville scholar, Dr. Elizabeth A. Schultz, including works by Leonard Baskin, Richard Ellis and Rockwell Kent in the Centre Street Gallery, Level 2. “Visualizing Melville” pairs items from the Museum’s collections with Melville’s vivid text, including “Quakers with a vengeance” and “a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears” in the Changing Gallery, Level 2. The 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels feature movie memorabilia displayed in the windows of the Research Library.

Images related to the book will also be projected in the Cook Memorial Theater throughout the marathon, presented by the Museum’s youth apprentices.

A midwinter tradition, attracting hundreds of Melville fans from around the world, the marathon marks the anniversary of Melville’s January 1841 departure from the port of New Bedford and Fairhaven aboard the whale ship, Acushnet.

Refreshments will be available throughout the Marathon.

This year’s marathon is a program of MOBY! – a partnership of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park to celebrate the iconic tale of the ‘Great White Whale’ and is funded through a grant from the Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO), administered by the United States Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, January 6

5:30 p.m.: Ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar, Jacobs Family Gallery.

7:15 p.m.: Public lecture, “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” with Dr. Timothy Marr, Cook Memorial Theater.

Saturday, January 7

10:00 a.m.: Stump the Scholars II, Cook Memorial Theater.

11:30 a.m.: Moby-Dick “Extracts,” Bourne Building.

12:00 noon: Moby-Dick Marathon begins, Bourne Building.

1:30 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 7– 9 in the Seamen’s Bethel with tenor Jonathan Boyd.

2:30 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

3:00-5:00 p.m.: Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

3:00-5:00 p.m.: “Imaging Moby!” tour with Dr. Robert Wallace, Centre Street Gallery.

7:00 p.m. (approx.): Chapter 35 to Chapter 40. “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park, Cook Memorial Theater.

8:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

Sunday, January 8

1:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon concludes with the Epilogue.

Ongoing related exhibits: “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. Moby-Dick slide show, Cook Memorial Theater.

2011-2012 Whaling Museum Apprentices

Back row: Carlos, John, Amber, Sharmaine, Gustin, Mark, Alfredo, Science Director Bob Rocha. Front row: Vanessa, Raven, Peightyn, Erica, Melanie

The Museum’s apprentices were formally welcomed on Tuesday, October 25 by Museum staff, Trustees and volunteers, apprentice family members, representatives of New Bedford Public Schools, City Councillor Steve Martins and Mayor Scott Lang.  Five of our apprentices, John Antunes, Melanie DeJesus, Peightyn Riley, Mark Ste. Rose and Carlos Velazquez are returning for their second year with us. They are working directly with Museum staff.  Our seven new apprentices, Vanessa Alves, Erica Andrade, Sharmaine Flint, Gustin Froias, Amber Martin, Raven Medeiros-Neves and Alfredo Parilla have started their training and behind-the-scenes immersion as to how our museum operates.

Nine of these students attend New Bedford High School; three of them attend Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. Our new apprentices were chosen from a pool of 52 applicants. We’re very happy to have them as part of our team.

Help Us Welcome Our Apprentices

New Bedford Whaling Museum welcomes new apprentices, Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m.

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.)  —  The New Bedford Whaling Museum will introduce its new class of High School Apprentices during a brief ceremony on Tuesday, October 25, at 4:30 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery. The public is cordially invited to attend.

The twelve juniors and seniors attend high school in New Bedford and include seven new apprentices who were chosen from a pool of 52 applicants. Five returning apprentices will work directly with museum staff in a department of their choosing. All will be working after school, Tuesday through Friday until the end of May 2012 and will return in the summer for a six-hour workday. Museum president James Russell, museum vice president for education and programming, Jim Lopes, trustee and chair of the education committee, Dawn Blake-Souza, and Robert Rocha – who directs the apprentice program – will address the gathering. Apprentices will also introduce themselves to the audience during the event. Refreshments will be served.

Overseen by the museum’s education department, the apprentice program provides a unique opportunity for local youth to learn a variety of museum skills and expand their scholastic horizons. The program is funded through the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the Howard Bayne Fund, the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, the City of New Bedford Community Development Block Grant Program, the Island Foundation, and the Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world’s most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the cultural history of the region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city’s historic downtown and is open daily. For a complete calendar of events, visit the Whaling Museum online at


For more information, contact:

Robert Rocha

Science Director

(508) 717-6849

A mark of excellence

The American Association of Museums (AAM), Washington, D.C., announced the New Bedford Whaling Museum has earned reaccreditation at the most recent meeting of the Accreditation Commission. Accredited status from AAM is the highest national recognition achievable by an American museum.

In its announcement, AAM stated that reaccreditation is awarded only after a comprehensive yearlong examination and peer review of all aspects of the Whaling Museum’s mission, operations and programming. “Accreditation is emblematic of many things, the highest standards in museum operations, outstanding public programs, and long-term sustainability among them,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement. But put simply, it means the citizens of the communities served by these museums have in their midst one of America’s finest museums.”

In her letter to museum president, James Russell, Dr. Bonnie W. Styles, Chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission, wrote “We found the museum to be a highly performing organization that has a solid strategic plan, excellent community engagement and is dealing strategically and realistically with budget hardships. We particularly liked the three-tier intern apprenticeship program. The museum is also a good example of merging history and science together in exhibits and programming.”

Mr. Russell noted the importance of reaccreditation. “We are extremely proud of this achievement. It validates years of hard work on the part of our dedicated trustees, volunteers and staff – evaluated against the strictest professional and national standards. This honor elevates all of New Bedford and the South Coast region, and it reenergizes us in the continued building of a greater, stronger Whaling Museum,” he said.

AAM Accreditation recognizes the highest standards in individual museums and ensures that museums continue to uphold their public trust. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 40 years, the AAM museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability.

NBWM Teen Apprentice Program

Recruiting for our teen apprentice program:

The New Bedford Whaling Museum Apprenticeship program offers an opportunity to high school students with an interest in a variety of topics, who excel academically and express interest in gaining work and college readiness experience, while earning a competitive wage. The Apprenticeship program will use museum resources as well as those of regional academic and scientific institutions to increase the knowledge base and practical experiences of high school students in New Bedford while enhancing their preparedness to continue their studies in these topics upon entering college. Full text of the descriptive letter can be found below.

NBWM Apprenticeship Letter Fall_2011

2011_2012 NBWM Apprentice Application

The program takes place during two sessions during the academic year and one summer session. The school year sessions will run from September – January and February – May. Students will work from 3:00 – 5:00 during these sessions, four days a week. The summer session will take place over eight weeks from July – August, with students working from 10:00 – 4:00.

Interested students should fill out an application form and return it, and a copy of the most recent report card, by Sept 21, to:
Robert Rocha, Science Director, New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740, or to the
Dean of Students / Co-op Coordinator / College and Career Advisor at your school

For further information contact Mr. Rocha, (508) 717-6849 or

Snakes: Science Tuesday Returns Tomorrow, August 9

Double Snake Crimper, made with whale ivory, baleen, tortoise shell and metal. 19th century. From NBWM Collections.

Looking for some free, fun activity for the family tomorrow?  Do your kids or grandkids enjoy being taught by older kids?  Want to learn about snakes and take home your own serpentine creation?

As part of our summer-long, free Science Tuesday programming, Whaling Museum Apprentices, Rico Hernandez and Peightyn Riley, will lead tomorrow’s activities. The theme will be snakes.  Kids can make their own spiral snake, shed their skin like a snake, and have their faces painted up like a snake. In case you were wondering, there won’t be any live snakes.

Activities take place between 1:00pm – 3:00pm in the Jacobs Family Gallery.  Please join us. For more information, call Bob Rocha, (508) 717-6849.