Tag Archives: AHA!

Celebrating the North Atlantic Right Whale

The New Bedford Whaling Museum examines the plight of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and also celebrates this magnificent animal in a free public program that features a movie excerpt and a talk by Peter C. Stone on AHA Night, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater.


The program begins with a 20-minute excerpt of the film, “Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship,” featuring historic collaborative efforts to protect right whales in Massachusetts Bay.

In 2009, armed with more than 25 years of scientific data, a coalition of industry, regulatory and research representatives moved the shipping lane in Boston Harbor. This decreased the chance of ship strike on whales by 81%.

This Green Fire Productions film includes video footage, interviews, and state-of-the-art graphics – highlighting the work of individuals who are helping us better understand the right whale and the need to minimize manmade negative impacts on its chances for survival.

Following the film, an illustrated talk by author, educator and artist, Peter C. Stone, explores the evolutionary wisdom and interconnectedness of endangered creatures in a presentation titled “Waltzes with Giants: The Twilight Journey of the North Atlantic Right Whale.” His new book of the same title will be available at no cost to attendees while supplies last. The artist will be available to sign copies of his book after the talk in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Mystical and provocative, “Waltzes” is inspired by a real North Atlantic right whale and her increasingly perilous migrations from Atlantic Canada to her calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. In the spirit of marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson’s sea trilogy, the story evokes the wonder, the sorrow, and the conflicts associated with this member of the suborder Mysticetes (baleen whales). Blending science and art with a literary voice, Stone takes us beneath the waves to reveal how we have historically decimated many species of whales and other fisheries for material gain, even though they are an integral part of the ecosystems upon which we depend.

Many of the North Atlantic right whales that have spent their summer in Canadian and northern New England waters migrate south through the Gulf of Maine and around Cape Cod, to follow the Atlantic coast towards the waters of Georgia and Florida. Others will explore outer regions of the North Atlantic, some venturing farther than others.  Most, if not all, will travel within 50 miles of the coast and all of the human-created hazards that such a trip entails. Nearly 75% of these animals bear scars of entanglement or ship strike.

The good news for this highly endangered species is that there are dedicated individuals paying attention to their movements. Dozens of researchers follow the whales using both simple and high-tech equipment, generating a clearer picture of their habits. In so doing we learn how to help these animals. Sometimes this means knowing how to avoid them. Artists and writers like Peter Stone also absorb the science and are inspired to create moving ways to communicate the challenges these creatures cannot overcome without wide-reaching human intervention.

Museum galleries are open on AHA at a discount – buy one admission, get one free.

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. For events: www.whalingmuseum.org.

Origami Night features demo & film, Dec. 8

Origami Night at the Museum will feature hands-on demonstrations of the Japanese art of paper folding on AHA night, Thursday, December 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. At 6:30 p.m. the film, Between the Folds, will be shown in the Cook Memorial Theater, followed by a Q&A session with members of the FOLD Project – six MFA graduate students from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).

Demonstrations will show how to make origami whales and reveal how other elaborate and elegant creations emerge from a simple sheet of paper. No prior skills are required to learn this art. Admission is free to demonstration and film.

Recognized by several international film festivals, Between the Folds, was written produced and directed by Vanessa Gould. Presented by Green Fuse Films, “Between the Folds” chronicles the stories of 10 fine artists and intrepid scientists – all forging unconventional lives as modern paper-folders. The film paints an arresting portrait of the remarkable artistic and scientific creativity that fuels this ever-changing art form, fusing science and sculpture, form and function, ancient and new.

Capoeira at the Whaling Museum

This community’s connection to the Portuguese speaking world is centuries old. This is no secret. We have two galleries dedicated to this link, with another to come. That connection, with Brasil, was in full display on AHA! night, Thursday, September 8, in our Jacobs Family Gallery. Enjoy this YouTube video of the agile members of Capoeira Brasil Boston entertaining the crowd with their mix of martial arts, dance, acrobatics and music.

Author Peter Stevens to speak on his book, “The Voyage of the Catalpa”

Please join us on Thursday 1/14, 8:00-9:00 PM,  in our theater, for a talk by author Peter Stevens related to his book The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels’ Escape to Freedom. This program is part of AHA!

From publisher Basic Books:

Fast-paced, compelling, meticulously researched, and dramatically detailed, this saga from the annals of American, Irish, British, and Australian history comprises the first full telling of the secret yearlong journey of the American whaling ship Catalpa, under Captain George Anthony, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1875. Risking his own freedom and career, Anthony sailed across international waters to Australia, to rescue from hellish imprisonment the group of British-soldiers-turned-Irish-rebels named “The Fremantle Six.” The successful escape and hostility the vulnerable Catalpa overcame both from the British Royal Navy and furious seas make Anthony’s historical voyage legendary. 8 pages of photographs add to this true story of daring on the high seas.

Working Waterfront Festival Publishes Book

Our friends at the Working Waterfront Festival have announced publication of Voices from the Waterfront: Portrait of the New Bedford Fishing Industry.

A reception to celebrate the release of the book will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on Thursday, January 14th at 6:30 PM in conjunction with New Bedford’s monthly celebration of art, history, and architecture – AHA . The reception is free and open to the public. Photographer Mark Starr and Co-editors Kirsten Bendiksen and Laura Orleans will be on hand to talk about creating the book which will be available for purchase.

This 80-page book is based on interviews conducted over a five year period with 43 individuals from the New Bedford/Fairhaven fishing community. Their voices provide a rare first hand accounting of life and work in the port.

Those interviewed include retired and active fishermen, lumpers, auctioneers, shoreside business owners, fisheries scientists, a tug boat captain, fishing family members and others. Oral history excerpts are accompanied by black and white portraits taken by photographer Markham Starr.