Category Archives: Education

Moby-Dick and Modern America: A Summer Reading Course

One of the best things about a good book is that it can be read at any time of year, at any time of day, and it will draw you in. Sure, a book like White Fang may have even greater impact if you read it on cold winter nights. You may feel the dusty Alabama setting of To Kill A Mockingbird even more if you read it during a hot, dry summer. Yet, these are compelling stories no matter when you read them. The same can be said for Moby-Dick.

Many of you know that we choose to hold our Moby-Dick Marathon in January because it was January of 1841 when Herman Melville sailed out of New Bedford harbor on the whaleship Acushnet. However, there are Moby-Dick reading marathons in other cities that happen throughout the year. It’s a great book, to many, the greatest novel ever. The season in which you read it isn’t particularly important.

In that vein, former NBWM curatorial intern Evander Price, now a doctoral student in Harvard’s American Studies program, is looking to connect high school students to Moby-Dick after their school year is over.  This summer, he is teaching a high school course on Moby-Dick through MIT’s intensive summer program, Junction, which aims to provide intense, college-level academic courses for high school students.  He invites any brave green whalers who might be interested aboard his literary ship.  Applications are due April 10th, though late applications will be accepted up until May (precise date TBD).  See course description below, and on Junction’s website.


Title: Moby-Dick and Modern America


“I have written a wicked book, and feel as spotless as a lamb.”

–Melville in a Letter to Hawthorne, July 1851

This class is an introduction to Herman Melville’s famous epic, Moby-Dick; we will read the book in its entirety.  This course explores a wide range of subjects, such as: philosophy, metaphysics, ontology, World/American/Scientific/Maritime history, art, mythology (Greek and otherwise), cetology, geography, popular art/ culture, justice, poetry, environmentalism, etymology, civilization, savagery, Shakespeare, heroism, war, nothingness, evil, darkness, hell, the abyss, god, death, race, religion, monstrousness, genius, madness, wisdom, ethics, eschatology and some slice of the complexity of existence within the human condition.

We will embark on this literary ship of the past as it winds its way from the world’s beginning to the present day, beginning at page one with Ishmael, a young man who, contemplating suicide, instead decides to commit himself to sea.  You can expect to finish this class with no answers, but rather, a firm grasp of the magnitude of the questions.  You can expect to improve enormously as a reader, to be mind-blown, blubber-brained, and equipped with a whole new set of philosophical and analytical tools to approach any daunting work of great literature you may read in the future.  Have no fear: we will work together as a crew to harpoon this evil epic.  Join me on a whaling voyage around the world!

Notable Year for Right Whale Births

Knowing that there are more North Atlantic Right Whale calves this year than last (20 vs. 6) makes for good news. What makes this really interesting is that two of the calves have made first time grandmothers out of two of the whales, made Wart a great-grandmother and put 1134 in the category of most prolific, with her 9th calf. The Savannah Morning News published an article yesterday about this year’s calves and about the sightings in the Southeast region during the winter months.

North Atlantic right whales are beginning to return to Massachusetts coastal waters for feeding and gathering in ‘surface active groups‘, otherwise known as SAGs.  Perhaps the best way to see these animals is from shore, especially a place like Race Point Beach in Provincetown. Whale watch boats must maintain a distance of 500 yards from these animals, as opposed to 100 yards for all other species typically seen on local whale watches. So, the whales are more likely to be closer to the shore than they are to a boat.

North Atlantic right whale breaching in Cape Cod Bay, May 2009.  Taken by Regina Asmutis-Silvia/WDCS

North Atlantic right whale breaching in Cape Cod Bay, May 2009. Taken by Regina Asmutis-Silvia/WDC

Your New Bedford Whaling Museum will celebrate this unusual, endangered species on Monday, April 15 with our fourth annual Right Whale Day. From 10:00am – 2:00pm, with the help of our friends at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance, NOAA’s Office of Education, artist/author Peter Stone, and the Museum’s High School Apprentices, we will have a right whale obstacle course, multiple craft and activity tables, a 48-foot inflatable right whale (which you can into), a right whale drawing workshop, stories, lots of information and artifacts and cake. You can also sign the petition to extend past December 9 the rule that has done a very good job of protecting these whales from ship strikes.  All of these activities are FREE.

Act Right Now – Save a Species…The Video

North Atlantic right whale killed by ship strike. Photo by Monica Zani, New England Aquarium. Taken under NOAA/NMFS federal permit.

North Atlantic right whale killed by ship strike. Photo by Monica Zani, New England Aquarium. Taken under NOAA/NMFS federal permit.

On December 9 of last year, less than two months ago, the Whaling Museum hosted a press conference to announce the launching of the Act Right Now – Save a Species campaign. This campaign seeks to remove the ‘sunset’ date of December 9, 2013 that was included as part of the rule that requires ships greater than 65 feet to slow down to 10 knots when they enter areas known to be inhabited by the North Atlantic right whale. This rule is seasonal, since the NARW migrates along the eastern seaboard of the United States.  Based on the results of the first four years, this rule is proving to be an effective tool in cutting down on ship strikes in these areas.

It is critical that this rule be kept in place, if we are to minimize one of the human-induced causes of right whale mortality. Any population of animal that is as endangered as this one is (the population hovers around 500) needs our help for survival, especially if we know how to prevent these types of fatal interactions.

To that end, our colleagues at Whale and Dolphin Conservation commissioned a video to tell this story and to urge NOAA to remove the expiration date from this rule.  Several partners of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, including WM staff participated in this important effort. We encourage you to watch this compelling eight minute video, which has both excellent footage of right whales and gruesome images of ship strikes,  and then sign the petition to extend the life of the 2008 Final Rule to Implement Speed Restrictions to Reduce the Threat of Ship Collisions with North Atlantic Right Whales.

The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium consists of members from dozens of agencies, non-profits, universities and whale related businesses.  We proudly host their annual meeting each November.

“Call me Google.”

A member of the Google Street View team navigates the Google Trolley through the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

A member of the Google Street View team navigates the Google Trolley through the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Herman Melville couldn’t have imagined a more fantastic world-wandering voyage, and all with the click of a mouse or touch of a smartphone.

The Google Maps team recently visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum, deploying its Street View Trolley to create a virtual walk-through by taking multiple photos that will later be stitched into 360-degree “panoramics” and shared on Google Maps.

Many of the nation’s great museums have been mapped using this technology, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Dubbed the Art Project, more than 180 international museums have partnered to make their interior spaces navigable through Google’s global mapping platforms.

We look forward to the release of the new panoramic images of the Whaling Museum in the coming months to help people around the world virtually visit and preview the Museum as well.

Sailors’ Series launches Feb. 28

Photo: Courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing

Photo: Courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing

R. Michael Wall is the first of several distinguished speakers featured in the 23rd Annual Sailors’ Series lectures. His illustrated talk, The Art of Ship Models: Collections of the Past, Present and Future, takes place on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

An international authority on ship models, Mr. Wall will explore the Whaling Museum’s extraordinary collection of models with a view toward understanding these works as a true decorative art form. A graduate of Georgetown University School of Business, Mr. Wall prepared the definitive report, “Ship Model Classification Guidelines” in conjunction with the staffs of Mystic Seaport, the Smithsonian Institution, and The Mariners’ Museum. He is owner of the American Marine Model Gallery, Gloucester, Massachusetts.

A new exhibit, titled The Art of Ship Models which he co-curates with Judith Lund, premieres at 6:00 p.m. for members in the Rinehart Gallery, located on the main level of the museum. The exhibit opens to the public on March 1.

On March 7, the program will feature Dyer Jones, CEO of the Herreshoff Marine Museum. A boat builder by trade, he has been involved in sailing his whole life, and in the America’s Cup competition since 1967; as a team member, race official, syndicate member, event administrator, and dispute arbitrator. Mr. Jones has also served as Commodore of the Ida Lewis and New York Yacht Clubs, is president of the International Twelve Metre Class, a member of the Classes Committee of the International Sailing Federation, and with Luigi Lang, co-authored “The Twelve Metre Class,” the definitive history of the class since 1907. He currently chairs the Selection Committee for the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.

On Thursday, April 4, a lecture titled Ray Hunt and His Designs will be presented by John Deknatel and Winn Willard, of C. Raymond Hunt Associates.

Founded as a partnership in 1961 between C. Raymond Hunt (1908-1970) – the internationally renowned helmsman and yacht designer – and John Deknatel, current president, C. Raymond Hunt Associates remains one of the most widely recognized and respected names in naval architecture, in particular for designs utilizing the hull form known as the Hunt deep-V. A Harvard College graduate, Mr. Deknatel studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1963, he went to work for Ray Hunt, and assumed leadership of the firm in 1969.

Winn Willard is director of Hunt Yachts and vice president of Hunt Associates. A graduate of Babson College, he studied naval architecture at the University of Michigan, and is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

On Thursday, April 18, a lecture titled The Charles W. Morgan and Our Yankee Whaleboat Project will be presented by Quentin Snediker, Mystic Seaport Shipyard Director and Bill Womack, owner of Beetle, Inc.

Their illustrated program will give the inside story of Mystic Seaport’s massive restoration of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, and plans for her epic sail to New Bedford on July 4th, 2014. Bill Womack will discuss the construction of the Yankee whaleboat funded by Whaling Museum supporters, which will swing from the davits of the Morgan for the next 170 years! Donors to the whaleboat project receive free admission to this lecture.

On Thursday, May 2, a lecture titled Volvo Ocean Race will be presented by Ken Read. Considered one of the world’s most accomplished sailors, Mr. Read has twice helmed Ameri­ca’s Cup programs in 2000 and 2003 and was twice named “United States Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.” He has 46 World, North American, and National Champion­ships to his credit. Most recently, he skippered the PUMA Ocean racing team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. He will share his perspective on racing and the dedication, challenge and sacrifice required along the way.

All Sailors’ Series lectures occur on Thursday evenings, starting at 7:00 p.m. with a pre-lecture reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery. Tweet the Sailors’ Series with hashtag #SailorsSeries23

Admission for individual lectures: Members: $15 / Non-Members: $20. For the 5-lecture series: Members: $60 / Non-Members $85.

The Sailors’ Series is sponsored in part by C.E. Beckman, the Beverly Yacht Club and the New Bedford Yacht Club.

Schedule at a glance

February 28: The Art of Ship Models with R. Michael Wall.

March 7: An Evening with Dyer Jones.

April 4: Ray Hunt and His Designs with John Deknatel and Winn Willard.

 April 18: The Charles W. Morgan and Our Yankee Whaleboat Project with Quentin Snediker and Bill Womack.

 May 2: Volvo Ocean Race with Ken Read.

Moby-Dick Marathon, Jan. 4-6

MDM17_ButtonThe New Bedford Whaling Museum’s 17th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop public reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 4 – 6, 2013. This year’s marathon is generously sponsored in part by Rockland Trust and the Empire Loan Charitable Foundation. Admission is free to the marathon and museum galleries during the event. Donations are gratefully accepted.

On Friday, January 4 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 ($29), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled Moby-Dick in Pictures: A Drawing For Every Page, presented by artist Matt Kish, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. In 2009, the Ohio artist began creating an image a day based on text selected from every page of Moby-Dick. The work, which took 18 months complete, utilizes a wide variety of mixed media, to create “a visual masterpiece that echoes the layers of meaning in Melville’s narrative.”

On Saturday, January 5 at 10:00 a.m., Stump the Scholars, 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 a popular public radio quiz show, a prize will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.  Questions may be submitted  in advance at or posed just prior to the program.

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, read by retired Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. With more than 160 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.

For the first time in the marathon’s history, a sight impaired participant will read from a Braille edition of the book.

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 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 Gerald P. Dyck. Vocalist, composer and longtime music director of the New Bedford Choral Society, Mr. Dyck, holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from the Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music.

Culture*Park, a regional performing arts collaborative, will stage Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Guests are also invited to the Wattles Family Gallery to chat with Melville scholars on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and with Melville artist, Matt Kish from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., meet Melville artist, Jason Hancock in the Centre Street Gallery (main level) where his contemporary works inspired by Moby-Dick are on exhibit.

The Museum’s website will provide livestreaming throughout the weekend. Tweet the marathon with hashtag #MDM17 and @whalingmuseum.

Related exhibits to see during the marathon include A Voyage Around the World: Cultures Abroad, Cultures at Home.

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 Moby-Dick 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 for sale throughout the Marathon.

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.

Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, January 4

5:30 p.m.: Ticketed buffet dinner, Jacobs Family Gallery (cash bar: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)

7:15 p.m.: Public lecture, “Moby-Dick in Pictures: A Drawing for Every Page,” with artist Matt Kish, Cook Memorial Theater.

Saturday, January 5

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

11:30 a.m.: The Moby-Dick Extracts, read by the Melville Society, Bourne Building.

12:00 noon: Moby-Dick Marathon begins, BourneBuilding.

1:30 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 7– 9 in the Seamen’s Bethel with Gerald P. Dyck.

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

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.: Chat with Melville artist, Matt Kish, Wattles Family Gallery.

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

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

Sunday, January 6

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.: Chat with Melville artist, Jason Hancock, Centre Street Gallery.

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

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

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.

When America First Met China, Oct. 25

Eric Jay Dolin

Best selling author, Eric Jay Dolin gives an illustrated talk titled When America First Met China on Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m., in the Whaling Museum’s Cook Memorial Theater. This Samuel D. Rusitzky Lecture is free to the public.

One of the least understood areas of American history, Dolin will trace the United States’ fraught relationship with China back to its roots: the unforgiving nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire.

A desire for trade and profit first brings America to China’s door in a surprising story of intrigue that sheds light on our modern relationship with China. The furious trade in fur, opium, and bêche-de-mer – a rare sea cucumber delicacy – might have catalyzed America’s emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe of such epic proportions, the reverberations can still be felt today.

Dolin notes “whaling was hardly the only maritime venture that New Bedford men—and women— pur­sued. A relatively small number of New Bedford ships, often at the tail end of whaling and sealing voyages, travelled to China during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and brought back trea­sures of the East. Some New Bedford merchants participated in the China trade by investing in ships that left from other ports, especial­ly New York City.”

The author will be available to sign copies of his new book, When America First Met China at 6:00 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Dolin is also author of the bestselling Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Providence Journal.

A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, he lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Scholarship Opportunity for Student Writers

Here’s an opportunity that I’m excited to share with subscribers to our blog.

High school students with an interest in the coastline and/or the ocean, and in need of a little money for college are encouraged to check out this great opportunity created by concerned parent and Gulf of Maine resident, Linda Cabot. Linda has taken her 64-minute film, From the Bow Seat, and created an essay contest for high school students. Three winners will be chosen. First place will win $2500, second place will win $1500 and third will win $500. In addition, the high school science department of the winner will receive $2500.

The contest requires that participants watch either ‘From the Bow Seat’, or ‘The Right Whale: Urbanizes’ created by Linda’s daughter, Noelle Anderson. After watching the film, you will need to answer questions about the film and submit them to the contest moderators.
The contest runs for the length of the school year. I expect this to be competitive, so start early and get constructive feedback from teachers and peers.

The Gulf of Maine is host to many species of cetacean: North Atlantic right, minke, humpback and fin whales, common and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, and harbor porpoises. It’s home to many important commercial fish species such as cod and lobster. It may seem like it’s not right next door to New Bedford, but it has direct connections to our shores and our lives. Please share news of this essay contest with students and teachers that you know.

Apprentice Program Application Deadline is Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 26, is the final day for high school juniors and seniors to turn in applications for our High School Apprenticeship Program. Students in New Bedford High School, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, New Bedford Global Learning Charter Public School and Fairhaven High that are receiving free or reduced lunch are eligible to apply. We may be hiring as many as eight new apprentices to join the team with our four returning apprentices. The program takes place Tuesday – Friday, from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm during the school year. The 2012-2013 apprentice program will begin on Tuesday, October 9.
Applications are available at all of the schools listed above, at our front desk and on our website  For more information call Science Director, Robert Rocha, (508) 717-6849 or email