Tag Archives: Volunteers

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

Scrimshaw Weekend features opening scrimshaw exhibit, May 11-13

Scrimshaw experts, collectors and fans from around the world will gather for the 23rd Annual Scrimshaw Weekend at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, May 11-13, which features three days of activities including the opening of a new permanent exhibit on Sunday, May 13 at 2:00 p.m. of the world’s largest scrimshaw collection, titled “Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers.”

Scrimshaw removed from storage prior to placement in new Scrimshaw Gallery

The weekend kicks off on Friday, May 11, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the third annual Nautical Antiques Show featuring 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 to the Nautical Antiques Show only is $5, or free with museum admission or membership.

On Friday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., a cocktail reception in the Dutch Gallery will include a VIP preview of the new scrimshaw exhibit.

On Saturday, May 12, registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with plenary sessions starting at 10:00 a.m., to include, “William Sizer, Scrimshaw Artist: A Comprehensive Review” with John Miklos (Chicago); “The Latest Scrimshavological Forensic Analysis of the Anonymous and Mysterious Mantelpiece Maker,” with Donald C. Boger, M.D. (Los Angeles); “Remarks on Scrimshaw,” with Captain Thomas Conley (Chicago); buffet luncheon in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Saturday afternoon sessions include “Scrimshaw: The Artist’s Eye,” with Ryan Cooper, scrimshaw artist (Cape Cod); “Market Report” with Andrew Jacobson (Ipswich, Mass.); “The California Penal Code and the California Crackdown,” with James Vaccarino, J.D., Scrimshaw Forensics® team; a panel discussion on the California Crackdown, with  Hon. Paul E. Vardeman, J.D. (Kansas City), Ken Brown (San Francisco), Rod Cardoza (San Diego), Chuck DeLuca (York, Maine and San Rafael, Calif.), Andrew Jacobson, and Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D. (moderator).

At 5:30 p.m., a cash bar will be followed by a banquet dinner at 7:00 p.m. in the Jacobs Family Gallery. The evening’s keynote, titled “Matchmaking” will be presented by Jack H.T. Chang, M.D. (Denver) at 8:00 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater.

On Sunday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m.: A Salute to Don Ridley: “Scrimshaw Fakes, Dangerous and Not So Dangerous,” with Stuart M. Frank in the Cook Memorial Theater; 11:15 a.m., VIP tour and discussion of “Seven Continents, Seven Seas,” with Stuart Frank, Wattles Family Gallery; lunch is on your own.

On Sunday at 2:00 p.m., a new exhibit, “Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers” opens to the public. The largest permanent exhibit of its kind, it coincides with the launch of a major new book on scrimshaw, titled “Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum.” by Stuart M. Frank. Published by David R. Godine, Boston, this definitive 400-page reference to the world’s largest scrimshaw collection includes more than 700 photographs by Richard Donnelly. Dr. Frank will be available to sign copies of the book. Light refreshments will be served.

Registration fee for Scrimshaw Weekend includes admission to the museum, all open galleries, nautical antiques show, all plenary sessions, Scrimshaw VIP Preview, exhibit opening, book launch, all scheduled meals, and refreshments: $370 (museum members $330). Tickets to Saturday’s banquet only: $75 each.

Admission to the Sunday opening of the scrimshaw exhibit and book launch only: regular admission rates apply. In honor of Mother’s Day, mothers are admitted free when accompanied by at least one member of her family.

For more information or to register, please contact visitor services at (508) 997-0046, ext. 100 or email: frontdesk@whalingmuseum.org. For the full schedule of events and program updates, please visit the museum website, www.whalingmuseum.org.

Special hotel room rates are available for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees. Call for details: Fairfield Inn and Suites New Bedford (Tel. 774.634.2000), and Hampton Inn New Bedford/Fairhaven (Tel. 508.990.8500).

The New Bedford Whaling Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Northeast Auctions, LLC of Portsmouth, NH, and the Maine Antique Digest.


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.”

ORAL HISTORIES – Revisiting the past through personal reflections

by New Bedford Whaling Museum volunteer Clif Rice

Beyond its treasure trove of physical objects, paintings, photographs, ship’s logs and sailor’s diaries, the museum is rapidly developing digital resources to help preserve and interpret the region’s rich and colorful past. “We are dedicated to searching for ways to broaden overall access to our collections and to connect to wider audiences.” according to Michael Lapides, who heads the Digital Initiatives Department.

One of these resources involves building a program of oral histories – personal reflections of people who have vivid, colorful memories of social, cultural, and maritime history. New interviews will add to recordings made years and even decades ago.

Through extensive planning and research by library volunteer and archivist Jalien Hollister, over 100 hours of existing oral histories, conducted since the 1960’s were identified and had their catalogued improved to increase accessibility. New processes were defined and implemented so that future oral history recordings will be conducted consistently and help complement existing material.

Joining us on the all-volunteer production and interview teams are Nancy Thornton, Adam Gonsalves, and Sally Brownell. Interviews are conducted as informal conversations, and recorded on professional digital equipment. Plans are to excerpt and cross-reference interview content so information can supplement on-line and physical exhibits, or be used in other programs.

In a recent interview, Roberta Sawyer, a lifetime resident at Round Hill in South Dartmouth, described life at the secluded end of Smith Neck in the 1930’s. Many of her recollections centered on Colonel Green. Roberta talked about how her father landed a small plane on Colonel Green’s farm field at Round Hill, and was asked by Green to establish and run a private airfield on his estate. Besides aviation, Green had sweeping interests in agriculture, science, photography, automobiles, and education. He established a broadcast facility and later built the memorable “martini-glass” satellite dish. He later hosted faculty and students from MIT to conduct research there.

Besides establishing the bark Charles W. Morgan in a special berth at Round Hill, Green built a reproduction of the ship’s tryworks and deck, opening these exhibits to the public. Although his family resided at Round Hill only months of the year, many remember the eccentricities and uniqueness of the Greens, especially their chauffeured limousines.

We welcome suggestions for potential interviewees, and new volunteers to the Oral Histories Project. Please contact Michael Lapides, Photo Curator and Director of Digital Initiatives (mlapides@whalingmuseum.org or 508-997-0046 x131).

For more information on becoming a volunteer call 508 717-6823, or visit our website http://www.whalingmuseum.org/volunteer/index.html

Retail Confectioners International with Dorothy Cox Chocolates, “Sweet”!

More than 100 members of Retail Confectioners International enjoyed a special after-hours tour of the Whaling Museum today, Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Pictured, docent Sylvia Morrell (center) regales the group with tales of a Nantucket Sleigh Ride. Whaling Museum corporate member, Dorothy Cox Chocolates, of Fairhaven, orchestrated the visit as part of the RCI tour of Massachusetts’ top confectioners. RCI is a non-profit trade association serving the chocolate and confectionery industry since 1917 with members across the United States and Canada.  RCI members’ impression of the Whaling Museum: “Sweet!”

Crewlist Project Update

In this post we share an update by Crewlist Project Director, and New Bedford Whaling Museum Advisory Curator Judith Lund. It speaks to our current team of 17 volunteers, but also to potential volunteers. To find out more about the project visit our initial post from November 6th.  To ask questions or sign-up use crewlistproject@whalingmuseum.org.

I am pleased to report that we are making good progress on this project. So far I have the results of three completed years and parts of another that have been coming to me as they are completed. That total of entries is 369. It may seem small yet, but I know that many of you are waiting to complete the year assigned to you before sending it to me. That’s fine, too. The important thing is that so many have volunteered and are going full steam, or full sail, ahead.

Captain Antone T. Edwards and some of his crew aboard the Wanderer

In March the history majors taking Maritime History at UMass Dartmouth will join in, thanks to Len Travers, who teaches the course and read the blog about the project. It will be a chance for his students to get their hands on some real history, and in doing so, complete a project that will be of lasting value. I have tentatively assigned three years to them.

Our youngest participant is Tevin Honohan, a student at New Bedford High School, who plugs away at the information during his community service period in his schedule.

The Whaling Museum and I thank you for all you are doing.

Volunteers Wanted for New Bedford Crewlist Project

The New Bedford Whaling Museum has organized a project to digitize the names of men who sailed from New Bedford on whaling vessels from the second half of the 19th century to the end of American whaling in 1924.


Captain Antone T. Edwards and some of his crew aboard the Wanderer


In cooperation with the New Bedford Free Public Library and the New Bedford Port Society, the Museum will complete the project begun several years ago by the New Bedford Free Public Library to make crew list information available.  When completed, this will provide a fully searchable database of names of whalemen who left the port of New Bedford, men who hailed from all the corners of the world.   This resource will be useful to persons seeking family history, to museum staff for exhibit purposes, and to scholars interested in understanding the diversity of the participants in the whaling industry.  The list created will be housed on the Museum’s website, and could, in the future, be linked to biographical information, immigration records, and other information about crew members generated by our ECHO partner organizations.

Participants in this project need to have a computer and be familiar with an excel database.  The work can be done at home.  Copies of crew list information printed from microfilms of the Port Society Seamen’s Registers can be mailed to you, and completed databases can be sent back electronically.  If you are able to assist with this project email Crewlist Project for more information.  We need a few good volunteers!