Tag Archives: Exhibition

Erin McGough is Whaling Museum’s new Registrar

Erin McGough

Erin McGough

Erin McGough has been appointed the new Registrar of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Selected from a field of more than 130 candidates, Ms. McGough comes to the Whaling Museum from the Concord Museum, where she developed the Registrar’s office, creating systems and procedures that allowed the museum to obtain its accreditation. She replaces longtime Registrar Jean Banker who retired in June.

Ms. McGough holds a Master’s Degree in Art History and Museum Studies from Tufts University, a B.A. in Art History from the College of William and Mary and has extensive internship experience at museums including the Corcoran, the Smithsonian, and Harvard’s Peabody Museum.

In making the announcement, Dr. Greg Galer, Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions, noted “Erin will play an essential role in the operation of the Whaling Museum, managing the legal and intellectual control of the collection as well as its physical care, storage, security and climate control. Erin comes with an extensive skill set for this position, possessing a deep knowledge of collection databases and object loan protocols. She will be an important member of the Curatorial Department, with museum best-practices at the heart of all our programs. The Board of Trustees and staff are thrilled to welcome her aboard.”

Ms. McGough added, “I am honored to be working at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The collection is large, diverse, and interesting — certainly providing a Registrar with plenty of challenges. I look forward to working with the entirety of the museum’s staff, as we provide a satisfying visitor experience while maintaining professional standards of collections care.”


Cape Verdean Gallery Committee issues call to the community for historical items

The volcano at Fogo from the Museum's Purrington-Russell Panorama of a "Whaling Voyage Round the World, 1841-1845"

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is in the process of establishing a permanent exhibit that will tell the story of Cape Verdean Whaling and culture of the Cape Verdean American experience.

The Cape Verdean Gallery Committee of the Whaling Museum is asking for the assistance of individuals, families and groups with ties to Cape Verdean history and culture to consider donating items of historical interest for use in this new exhibit, planned to open in July 2011. The exhibition will explore Cape Verde – its people, their maritime history and its connections to New Bedford – and the legacies that continue to tie the city and its culture to Cape Verde.

Co-chaired by Gene Monteiro and Dr. Patricia Andrade, the committee meets regularly with the Museum’s curatorial staff to discuss and advise them on the content and scope of the exhibition, which is planned for the southeast mezzanine of the newly restored Bourne Building, adjacent to the new Azorean Whaleman Gallery at the Museum’s core.

“Within the Museum’s vast collections there are many significant artifacts, photos and documents which will help tell the unique and compelling story of these islands, Cape Verdeans’ journey to America, and their contributions to this region of the county, in particular,” said Mr. Monteiro. “However, we are also hoping that within the homes of the Cape Verdean American community here in southeastern Massachusetts, there may be important items waiting to be discovered and perhaps featured in this exhibit,” he added.

Dr. Patricia Andrade noted, “Historical photographs will be key in telling this story, so we are issuing a call to the community to dust off their family albums and look through their attics for any items, documents, photographs or artifacts which might be useful in more fully telling the story of the people of Cape Verde and their journey as Americans.”

Building the museum’s permanent collection of art and artifacts relating to Cape Verdean heritage in New Bedford and onboard New Bedford vessels will enable this important American story to be told within the broader context of New Bedford history.

Upon consideration by the curatorial team the Cape Verdean Gallery Committee may recommend to the Collections Committee that an item be included into Museum’s permanent collection. “It would be a great honor to incorporate a part of one’s family history to tell this important story and have an item preserved in the permanent collection for all future generations,” said Dr. Greg Galer, the Museum’s Vice President of Collections & Exhibitions, who is working with the Committee along with Michael Dyer, the Museum’s Maritime Curator.

The examination of early family photographs, items brought from Cape Verde by emigrants, artifacts representing Cape Verdean culture – including musical instruments, pottery or other domestic objects of significance, clothing, craft, paintings, early immigration documents, scrimshaw and other artifacts related to whaling and the maritime trades – may be directed to Michael Dyer: (508) 997-0046, ext. 137, or by email: mdyer@whalingmuseum.org


Pico. Russell & Purrington, A Whaling Voyage 'Round the World, 1848.

Please join us to recognize and honor the Portuguese People and to celebrate their significant contributions to the maritime heritage of New Bedford

September 10, 5:30 p.m.

AZOREAN WHALEMAN GALLERY – Unveiling and Dedication

The Azorean Whaleman Gallery is a gift of the Government of Portugal honoring the Portuguese people and their significant contribution to the maritime heritage of New Bedford.

Whaling in Faial, 1940-1984 – Exhibition of photography from the Azores

Arthur Moniz Retrospective – Celebrating 45 years of painting the South Coast, Ships and the Sea

(The evening’s events are sponsored by Bristol County Savings Bank)

September 24, 5:00 p.m.

COMMUNITIES OF WHALING EXHIBITION – New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

October 22, 4:00 p.m.


The Honorable Carlos Manuel Martins do Vale César, President of the Regional Government of the Azores

Signing of a Protocol between the Azores, New Bedford and San Francisco

Commemoration of the Bourne Building

Re-Launching of the Lagoda

Dedication of the Azorean Arch

Pelo sinal do Espírito Santo – Exhibition of photography from the Azores

New Exhibit: From Pursuit to Preservation

The New Bedford Whaling Museum announces the opening of an exciting new permanent exhibition, From Pursuit to Preservation: The History of Human Interaction with Whales, which explains and explores the human fascination with whales and the history of whaling in New Bedford in a global context.

A humpback whale caught at Icy Cape in August 1912 with the crew who made the strike.

A humpback whale caught at Icy Cape in August 1912 with the crew who made the strike.

This comprehensive multimedia presentation, developed with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ECHO (Education Through Cultural and Historical Organizations) funding, and the generous contributions of Museum supporters, forms a new focal point for visitors experiencing the Whaling Museum. From Pursuit to Preservation guides visitors through the story of humankind’s evolving relationship with whales, from the whale as a source of survival and symbolic power, through to its exploitation for commercial wealth, to the first gropings toward scientific inquiry and contemporary methods of observation and study.

Whalebone processing in the yard of Pacific Steam Whaling Company

Whalebone processing in the yard of Pacific Steam Whaling Company

From ancient times, people have used the meat, oil, and bone of whales as important resources for their communities. The whale’s importance to humans’ physical well-being often fostered a symbolic cultural connection, a relationship that took many forms throughout the centuries and continues to evolve in contemporary art, literature, and popular culture. In From Pursuit to Preservation, the Whaling Museum takes visitors on a journey across time and around the world, using many items from its vast collection including unique maritime artifacts and art, photographs and whale skeletons as well as a listening station, digital picture frames, and thought-provoking interpretive signs to involve visitors in the discovery of the symbolic, spiritual, and cultural connections we share with these majestic and increasingly endangered animals.


Floating-Factory Ship THORSHAMMER with whales along side, circa 1928

Humans’ complex relationship with whales is told from the early harvesting of beached whales to the development of watercraft and weapons specifically to pursue the animals at sea. Once demand grew, an industry was born to hunt and process whales for the oil that would light the world for three centuries and the baleen that was the plastic of that age. While the Dutch and English led the way in the creation of this industry, by the early 19th century, the United States, led by New Bedford, had the most productive whaling industry in the world. As the success of the industry began to threaten the survival of whales, new technologies made their oil less vital. And while whaling left New Bedford, the pursuit of whales continued in Europe and Asia at new levels of efficient slaughter hunting that enabled the harvest in one year to outstrip that of the previous decade in total. The move toward preserving whales came as humans hunters become so good at killing that international regulation was needed to keep whales from extermination.


National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration off the South Carolina coast working to free a young endangered right whale entangled in ropes and buoys

Visitors to the New Bedford Whaling Museum experience come away with a new concept of the power of the whale in the human imagination — representing nature’s power, the lure of the unknown, a monstrous foe, and a once abundant resource. And the Whaling Museum exhibition also creates a bridge of understanding about how the whale has come now to symbolize our emerging understanding of our place in the natural world and how profound our impact upon it can be. Our hunt now is for knowledge: the better to apply the lessons of the past to the challenges of the future.

The exhibition was designed by The PRD Group, Ltd. of Chantilly, Virginia, and fabricated by Color-Ad, of Manassas, Virginia. The Museum is grateful for their enthusiasm, hard work, and dedication to the quality of the finished product.

Member’s Preview and Curator’s Tour:
Thursday July 2, 2009 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Open to NBWM Members only
RSVP to 508-997-0046 ext. 188

To view photos of the installation visit our Flickr site.