Category Archives: Press Release

Ambassador of Portugal visits Feb. 16

DabneyCoverFace2The Ambassador of Portugal, Nuno Brito, is scheduled to speak at a presentation celebrating the American publication of a major anthology on the diplomatic history between Portugal and the United States, on Saturday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater, New Bedford Whaling Museum. The public is invited to attend.

Titled, The Dabneys: A Bostonian Family in the Azores 1806-1871, the anthology deals with the historic American Consulate of the Dabney family at Horta, Faial – Açores. For most of the 19th century, the family made the island of Faial their home. Merchants with elite social connections, three generations of Dabneys were United States Consuls. Their impact on the growth of trade and their humanitarian activities earned them admiration throughout Portugal and America.

Ambassador Brito will be joined by local elected officials and community leaders at the event, which is sponsored by the New Bedford Whaling Museum and UMASS Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture.

Originally compiled by Roxana Lewis Dabney (1827-1913) from decades of letters and journals and privately printed for the family in 1899 as The Dabney Annals, the new 250-page American edition is illustrated with dozens of photographs from the era.

The February 16 program will include historian Maria Filomena Mónica, editor of the unabridged Portuguese edition of The Dabney Annals, which was published in 2009; she is also editor of the American edition, with annotation and selections by Paulo Silveira e Sousa.

“For the American reader, this book sheds new light on a re­markable but little known chapter in the history of United States foreign relations,” said James Russell, museum president and CEO.

A partnership of the Luso-American Development Foundation and the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the book is available for purchase following the program or online at: www.whalingmuseumstore.org.

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 mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org 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.

Act Right Now – Save a Species

The NBWM will host a press conference on Sunday, at noon, in our Cook Memorial Theater to bring attention to an important policy issue affecting the North Atlantic right whale. Please see the text of the media advisory below. The NBWM is happy to be part of this partnership to protect a critically endangered species of whale.

RW skimfeed From RA-SN. Atl. right whale feeding. Photo courtesy of Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDC.

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Karen Costa (WDC) karen.costa@whales.org

Cell phone: (617) 501-7892 (current & event day)

ACT RIGHT NOW – Save a Species: North Atlantic Right Whale

News Media are Invited to Cover

            

Who:    Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

         

What:   Campaign launch, expert panel discussion, and video premier – Countdown to Extinction: One Year to Act to Save Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.  The New Bedford Whaling Museum and Whale and Dolphin Conservation are hosting an open forum to discuss the plight of the North Atlantic right whale.  Join leading scientists and advocates in discussing the threats facing North Atlantic right whales. In addition to an expert panel discussion, curriculum guides for teachers will be available.

 

When:   Sunday December 9, 2012

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

 

Where:  New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740

Why:     Leading right whale scientists and advocates come together to mark the one year countdown to the expiration of the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule and to ask the federal government to keep the rule in place, giving critically endangered North Atlantic right whales a chance to survive. The biggest threat to these animals was – and still is – man. Right whale populations were depleted to near extinction by whaling. With approximately 50 individuals remaining, the North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction with vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements and a lack of adequate habitat protection continuing to threaten their existence. Currently, seventy-two percent of their known mortality is attributed to human causes. Public support to keep the ten knot speed rule in place is needed.

Experts participating and available for interviews include:

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Vessel Strike Program Lead & Executive Director, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)

Dr. Charles “Stormy” Mayo, Director of Right Whale Program, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS)

Dr. Michael Moore,Senior Research Specialist Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Robert Rocha, Science Director, New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM)

Sharon Young, Marine Issues Field Director, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

In 2008 the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule was enacted requiring vessels greater than 20m (65 feet) in length to slow to 10 knots in specific areas seasonally.  In an unprecedented measure, the National Marine Fisheries Service released the rule with a sunset date and the rule is set to expire on December 9th, 2013. This coming year WDC will lead the way with the Act Right Now campaign to gain public support for stronger and more permanent regulations to ensure that right whales have the best chance to survive the threats they face.  WDC, working in partnership with others, will work to extend and expand protections for North Atlantic right whales to prevent them from going extinct.  Find out what actions members of the public can take to ensure the survival of this fragile species at http://www.whales.org.

New Year’s Swingin’ Eve – a family-friendly party

BourneViewOfFireworks

The view of New Year’s Fireworks from the Museum’s Bourne Building’s windows

Join us for a festive evening of upbeat music and dancing, great food, raffle prizes, and children’s activities on Monday, December 31, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Hosted in partnership with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, the event is a casual, fun-filled affair for family and friends, featuring the music of Blu Lobsta, performing their popular mix of classic rock, blues and original songs. Selected members of the NBSO will make cameo musical appearances in museum galleries.

We’ll ring in the New Year at 9:00 p.m. and kids can join the Balloon Brigade to shower the dance floor with balloons. Cap off the evening by viewing the city’s fireworks display from the comfort of the Bourne Room.

Tickets: $50 for adults; $15 for kids. Email: Sarah Budlong  sbudlong@whalingmuseum.org or call (508) 997-0046, ext. 150.

Fare includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Proceeds benefit the education programs of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Moby-Dick Marathon reader call-in, Nov. 12

The 17th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon is scheduled for January 5-6, 2013 and all those interested in reading are invited to contact the museum, starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday, November 12. Call (508) 717-6851 or email: mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org to request a 7-10 minute reading slot. Be sure to provide your full name and preferred reading time as well as two alternate times.

Every January, the world’s largest whaling museum marks the anniversary of Herman Melville’s 1841 whaling voyage from New Bedford with a 25-hour nonstop reading of America’s greatest novel – Moby-Dick. The weekend includes three days of activities, January 4-5-6, 2013, including a ticketed buffet dinner and lecture on Friday evening.

A midwinter tradition, the marathon attracts hundreds of readers and listeners from around the world. The reading begins at noon on Saturday, January 5 and finishes at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 6. Snow and cold will not stop this literary happening. Come at any time; leave at any time, or stay 25 hours and win a prize!

For more information, contact: Robert C. Rocha, Jr. Science Director: (508) 997-0046, ext. 149,  rrocha@whalingmuseum.org

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 web@whalingmuseum.org . The Museum will post contributed images to its Flickr photo group with credit and copyright pointing back to creators.

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.

New Bedford Area Chamber donates archive

Michael Dyer, maritime curator, surveys archival records donated by the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.

The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce recently donated its early records archive to the Museum’s Research Library. The collection includes bound correspondence of the Chamber’s predecessor organization, the New Bedford Board of Trade, dating as early as 1915. However, much of the collection documents the period from the 1960s to the 1980s covering a range of topics including urban renewal, waste management, economic development, tourism, parking and other Chamber affairs. Earlier materials include the original organizational by-laws and a large volume of correspondence from the early 20th century.

“We’re pleased to donate these archival records of the Chamber’s early years to the whaling museum’s research library; we know they will be cared for properly and will be made available to students and the public for generations to come,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the Chamber.

Michael Dyer, the museum’s maritime curator notes that the Board of Trade was first organized in 1884, with many founding members being whaling agents whose business interests had expanded. “Men like Jonathan Bourne, Jr., Jireh Swift and William R. Wing had all made their fortunes in whaling but maintained important investments in other businesses,” Dyer said.

The research library’s other recent manuscript acquisitions include the papers of the local law firm of Crapo, Clifford and Clifford, the George C. Perkins collection and the Merchants Bank collection. Taken together they offer new research opportunities into the history of the city and its transition from a whaling port and textile center to a diverse manufacturing, retail and arts hub in the region.