Tag Archives: New Bedford

Scrimshaw Weekend expands with nautical antiques auction, May 13-15

This English watercolor of the ship Iona in its original frame is one of many consigned and donated nautical antiques in the Scrimshaw Weekend's Benefit Auction on May 14 at 8pm, proceeds to benefit the New Bedford Whaling Museum. None of the items are from the Museum's collections. (Photo by Richard Donnelly)

Scrimshaw experts, collectors and fans from around the world have another reason to look forward to the 22nd Annual Scrimshaw Weekend at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, May 13-15. It features three days of new presentations and activities, including a first-ever public auction of consigned nautical antiques on Saturday, May 14 at 8:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater.

The world’s only forum dedicated to the indigenous shipboard art of whalemen, Scrimshaw Weekend attracts enthusiasts from four continents to share the enjoyment of collecting and researching this remarkable artwork at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of scrimshaw.

The weekend kicks off at noon on Friday, May 13 with a Marine Antiques Show and Swap Meet, expanded by popular demand. On Friday evening, the keynote address titled “‘Built’ Scrimshaw: Types, Tools, and Construction Methods” is presented by James Vaccarino, J.D., and Sanford Moss, Ph.D. at 8:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. A full day of special programs devoted to scrimshaw on Saturday will wrap up with a cocktail reception at 5:00 p.m. and gala banquet at 6:00 p.m. The banquet will be followed by a public auction of consigned and donated nautical antiques at 8:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater, with proceeds to benefit the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Special exhibitions and an optional fieldtrip on Sunday are also planned.

Marine Antiques Show and Swap Meet

On Friday, May 13, from noon to 5:00 p.m., the second annual Marine Antiques and Swap Meet will feature for sale high quality marine antiques including scrimshaw, nautical instruments and tools, whaling logbooks, ship models, photos, paintings, prints, New Bedford memorabilia, and more in the Jacobs Family Gallery. Entry fee for the Antiques Show and Swap Meet only is $5, or free with museum admission or membership.

Scrimshaw Plenary Sessions

On Saturday, May 14, plenary sessions from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. will include, “Care and Feeding: Taking Care of Your Scrimshaw – Expanded,” with Conservator and Curatorial Intern, D. Jordan Berson, M.A., M.L.S.; Scrimshaw Preservation and Conservation Q&A Session; “Pictorial Sources of Scrimshaw in Institutional and Private Collections” with Jack H. T. Chang, M.D.; “Pictorial Sources of Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum,” with Stuart Frank, Ph.D., Senior Curator, NBWM; “Scrimshaw in the McDowell Collection”; “Pirates and Female Pirates on Scrimshaw,” and more.

Sessions will also include a Scrimshaw Market Report and Q&A with marine antiques dealer, Andrew Jacobson; an update on “A Comprehensive Catalogue of Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum,” with James Russell, Museum president; Richard Donnelly, book photographer, and Sara Eisenman, designer; Nautical Antiques Auction overview with Richard Donnelly, and a Collectors’ Show-and-Tell.

Public Auction of Consigned Nautical Antiques

On Saturday, May 14 at 8:00 p.m., guest auctioneer Ron Bourgeault of Northeast Auctions, LLC, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will preside over the public auction of a wide array of consigned nautical antiques including scrimshaw and whale craft, marine paintings, engravings and lithographs, log books, charts, antique photos, nautical instruments and more in the Cook Memorial Theater. A featured expert on the popular PBS series, Antiques Roadshow, Ron’s career in the antiques business spans four decades. He established Northeast Auctions in 1987, now ranked among the largest auction houses in the United States.

The public auction will consist of consignment and donated items only, with proceeds to benefit the New Bedford Whaling Museum. No items are from the Museum’s collections.

Approximately 150 lots will include many fine examples of scrimshaw, including whales’ teeth, whale bone busks engraved with various subjects, whale bone fids, a whale ivory pie crimper, fine inlaid sewing box from the Nye family, five canes including lady’s leg and fist examples, cribbage board, carved whale’s tooth amulet, lady’s leg pipe tamper, hand & cuff bodkin, whale bone clothes pin, large whale bone carved spoon and more. Auction listings and photos are online at www.auctionzip.com.

Preview of auction items in the Resource Center begins Friday, May 13 from noon to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday, May 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend the preview and auction at no charge. Left bids will be accepted. No phone or online bidding. Payment: cash, check and major credit cards accepted. There is a 15% buyer’s premium and Massachusetts sales tax is applicable to buyers without a valid resale certificate.

The fee for Scrimshaw Weekend, including admission to the Museum, all open galleries, Scrimshaw & Marine Antiques Show, scheduled meals, all plenary sessions and refreshments: $335 (Museum members $295) before May 1. After May 1 the fee is $370 (Museum members $330). Tickets to Saturday’s banquet only: $75 each.

On Sunday, May 15, an optional all-day fieldtrip will head to Nantucket Island and its Whaling Museum for a “behind the scenes” tour of its outstanding scrimshaw collection, including the museum’s off-campus storage facility. A special visit to an extraordinary private whaling collection will include a reception hosted by the owners. The bus will leave at 7:30 a.m. from the New Bedford Whaling Museum, returning by 8:00 p.m. The price is $235 and includes luncheon at the famed Jared Coffin House, all motor coach and ferry transportation.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Northeast Auctions, LLC of Portsmouth, NH, and the Maine Antique Digest, who have helped make Scrimshaw Weekend possible year after year.

To register, contact: Visitor Services, (508) 997-0046, ext. 100, or frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org

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

Volunteer Opportunities at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is currently recruiting volunteers. Are you retired and would like to become more involved in the New Bedford community? Perhaps you are a college graduate looking for experience in a museum setting. Or maybe you would like the opportunity to converse with people from around the world. Whatever your interests, the New Bedford Whaling Museum may be the right place for you!

Selected volunteers are invited to participate in a 10 week training course at the Museum, held Wednesday mornings throughout the fall beginning in early September. Prospective volunteers are asked to fill out an application available at http://www.whalingmuseum.org/volunteer/index.html (dates of course to be determined). Volunteers are not required to have previous knowledge about whales, the whaling industry or the history of New Bedford. During the course they will receive material covering all pertinent information.

Address all questions and comments to:

Brian Witkowski
Education Programs Assistant
18 Johnny Cake Hill
New Bedford, MA 02740
Tel (508) 997-0046 ext 185
Fax (508) 717-6883

Louisa M. of Rochester, docent for 2 years: “One of the most rewarding experiences I have had since retiring from teaching has been volunteering for the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Being new to the area, this opportunity has given me a wonderful perspective on the South Coast and the rich history of this part of the state. The volunteer work is not just rewarding but is also a learning experience. Each time I am in, I learn something new or interesting from the other docents/volunteers, staff, and the wonderful visitors to our museum. I have also made some great new friends. I would highly recommend volunteering for the museum.”

The Whaling Museum hosts a “Women’s Fund” Networking Event

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is pleased to be the hosting venue for a Women’s Fund Networking Event, “The Art of Social Justice“.

The event is supported by members of the local chapter of the Women’s Bar Association, including presenting sponsor, Keches Law Group.

Featured Artists:

  • Alison Wells, painter
  • Anne T. Converse, photographer
  • Khepe-Ra Maat-Het-Heru, performance artist

Also show will be a video/film of interviews of local children with their responses to the question, “What is your idea of social justice?

Date: Thursday January 28, 2010
Time: 6 – 8 PM
Place: The New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill,  New Bedford, MA
Admission fee: $20

RSVP by Monday, January 25, 2010 through The Women’s Fund where you may purchase a $20 admission (no tickets will be issued) or mail payment in advance to:

The Women’s Fund
63 Union Street
New Bedford, Ma 02740

T: 508.717.0283

Admission will include complementary wine and appetizers.

New Bedford Cordage Co, New Bedford MA. Records, 1839-1968

Uncovered from within a large box named “Industries”, and removed from folders just long enough to be properly cataloged within our database, were a group of 16  New Bedford Cordage Company photographs (Mss 1).  The full collection, housed both in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library  and  the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic and Digital Archives,  includes much more than this small group of photographs.

A stage in the manufacturing of rope. "Feed end of Spreader" (Photo by Joseph G. Tirrell)

Records of company directors and stockholders (1848-1958) including correspondence, minutes, reports, deeds and bills of sale for land or ships purchased by the firm, tax appraisals, and proposals relating to the company’s physical plant; correspondence, general accounts, employee’s wage book, and production and sales records reflecting the firm’s manufacture of binder twine, transmission rope, rope cables, and nylon rope for U.S. and world markets; product catalogs and advertisements (ca. 1911-1958); articles of organization of Cordage Institute, a national trade organization; and memoir and newspaper clippings concerning the history of the company. Includes information relating to National Cordage Company and Travers Brothers Company, both in New York, N.Y. Persons represented include Francis A. Bryant and Martin Walter, Jr., presidents of the company.

Original funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Coach with two large rolls of cordage in front of the New Bedford Cordage Company. (Photo by Joseph G. Tirrell)

Visit our flickr set to view all photos in this collection.

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.

[type] Faces of New Bedford

The following blog post was submitted by Laura Franz, Chair, Design Department College of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  Professor Franz brought her typography students to the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library in 2007 to get a sampling of historic materials to use as source material for their design projects. They were hosted by Maritime Curator Mike Dyer and Museum Librarian Laura Pereira.


Typography is the art of designing the written word. Type is ubiquitous. It is in the books, magazines, and websites we read, the street signs we use to find our way, the fonts we choose in our MS Word documents. Letters are everywhere. In the landscape, letters reflect the culture of a time and place. As a typographer I am interested in how letters and type “live” in society, and how they change as life around them changes.

Continue reading

“When Whales Made Kings” from Boston.com

newbedford__1246027626_8408 June 28, 2009, Boston.com and the Boston Globe, by Christopher Klein

NEW BEDFORD – Two days after the dawn of the new year in 1841, the whaler Acushnet tiptoed into frigid New Bedford Harbor, the first small steps on a lengthy voyage to the hunting grounds of the South Pacific. As the crew hoisted the newly christened vessel’s sails into the chill winter wind, they probably dreamed not only of warmer climes, but also of the great wealth that surrounded them in New Bedford, the whaling capital of the world. The city was among the richest in America, a commercial behemoth as massive as the leviathans its mariners harvested from the sea.

Among the names inscribed on the Acushnet’s crew list was that of a 21-year-old young man thirsty for adventure: Herman Melville. His voyage on the Acushnet served as inspiration for “Moby-Dick,’’ and the epic novel not only tells the salty tale of the elusive white whale, but also chronicles the prosperity of New Bedford at a time when whale oil and spermaceti candles powered the world.

“The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England,’’ Melville wrote in “Moby-Dick.’’ “Nowhere in all America will you find more patrician-like houses; parks and gardens more opulent, than in New Bedford.’’ While not on par with the lavish palaces built by today’s Russian oil barons and Middle Eastern sheiks, New Bed ford’s Yankee whalers constructed stately homes with their wealth and the Greek Revival mansion built by William Rotch Jr. was probably among those Melville recalled in that passage.

Rotch’s 28-room manse, now the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, is the best-preserved example of New Bedford’s “brave houses and flowery gardens’’ that Melville described in “Moby-Dick.’’ The house, built in 1834 and part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, is named for the three families who lived under its roof over a span of 150 years.

Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, 396 County St., New Bedford, 508-997-1401

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.

WCVB Boston Presents: Chronicle – The New New Bedford

The new New Bedford: Segment One

Segment One: Commercial Fishing Struggles and Survival

The new New Bedford: Segment Two

Segment Two: Art Scene featuring the NBWM!

The new New Bedford: Segment Three

Segment Three: Local Cuisine featuring Sid Wainer & Son