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New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford

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The New Bedford Whaling Museum is a museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States that focuses on the history, science, art, and culture of the international whaling industry, and the "Old Dartmouth" region (now the city of New Bedford and towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and Westport) in the South Coast of Massachusetts. The museum is governed by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society (ODHS), which was established in 1903 "to create and foster an interest in the history of Old Dartmouth." Since then, the museum has expanded its scope to include programming that addresses global issues "including the consequences of natural resource exhaustion, the diversification of industry, and tolerance in a multicultural society." Its collections include over 750,000 items, including 3,000 pieces of scrimshaw and 2,500 logbooks from whaling ships, both of which are the largest collections in the world, as well as five complete whale skeletons. The museum's complex consists of several contiguous buildings housing 20 exhibit galleries and occupying an entire city block within the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, although operated independently.
The museum also houses a collection of fine art, including works by major American artists who lived or worked in the New Bedford area, such as Albert Bierstadt, William Bradford, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, as well as a collection of locally produced decorative art, glassware, and furniture associated with the rise of New Bedford as a whaling port in the 19th century.

The museum's Bourne Building houses the Lagoda, a half-scale model of a whaling ship that was commissioned in 1916 and is the world's largest model whaling ship.
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New Bedford Whaling Museum reviews

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  • Really wonderful museum. Such a variety of exhibits and not just about whaling. And it is larger than I thought so give yourself a few hours. 
    Really wonderful museum. Such a variety of exhibits and not just about whaling. And it is larger than I thought so give yourself a few hours.  more »
  • We took a wonderful guided tour given by Docent Cody, who is a remarkably knowledgeable young man. As an amateur historian myself with long-time family links to New Bedford, I found Cody's knowledge....  more
    We took a wonderful guided tour given by Docent Cody, who is a remarkably knowledgeable young man. As an amateur historian myself with long-time family links to New Bedford, I found Cody's knowledge....  more »
Google
  • I brought a date to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and we had a great time. Lots to look at, some very interesting things and things I won't post here because unlike my other social media, my guides account is the only one I keep PG-13. I could make some comments about the whale genitalia on display, but I'll keep my thoughts to myself 😇 LOL. I took particular interest in the giant whale heart sculpture due to my own heart condition. anything to do with hearts always attracts my attention. Of course there were plenty of model ships and full size boats. There's also a half scale whaling boat which is the centerpiece of the museum. You can climb on and look around. I saw lots of kids really enjoying it. We were there talking and meandering around for about 2 1/2 hours and didn't see everything though we were admittedly taking our time admiring everything. My only complaint was the admission price. Not sure how it chocks up comparatively to other museums but it seemed high to me at $19 per adult ticket. Other than that I had a great time and I plan to go back eventually and see what I missed. Saw a lot of reviews saying kids were not so welcome by staff. I did not see any group tours or kids on guided tours, but lots of kids with parents seemed to be enjoying themselves. I regret that I didn't take more pictures.
  • This is an amazing museum dedicated to whaling. There are skeletons, models, ships, educational displays, and lots of beautiful art. You can easily spend a couple of hours here. Excellent for children and adults alike.

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