Aerial view of the Grand Panorama Conservation

Purrington-Russell Panorama Conservation Project

In fall 2017, The Museum finished the conservation of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World.

Purrington-Russell Panorama Conservation Project

In fall 2017, The Museum finished the conservation of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World. One of the Museum’s iconic artifacts, the Purrington-Russell Panorama, is believed to be the longest painting in the world.

Although such a claim is difficult to prove, at 1,275 long (and eight and a half feet tall) it is a reasonable belief, particularly given that the few other surviving works of this ilk only hundreds of feet long feet are often touted as among the longest. Created by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington in 1848, this Panorama has been displayed in a host of venues – from a national tour when it was created to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It was donated to the Museum in 1918 and was displayed for many years. However, one can easily imagine what a century and a half of rolling, unrolling, display, and light can do to deteriorate nearly a quarter-mile of painted cotton sheeting. It has not been exhibited in its entirety for more than 50 years, and the Museum thanks Mystic Seaport for kindly storing this monstrous painting over the past year as we develop plans for its next step.

Explore the digital version of The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage 'Round the World with expanded access to the history and narratives of Purrington and Russell’s Grand Panorama.

SEE NOW

 

Section of Roll 1 from "The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage 'Round the World" by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington. Now viewable online via the Whaling Museum's Digital Grand Panorama on arcgis.com.

Thanks To:

National Endowment for the Humanities Logo

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

More About the Panorama

On View Exhibit

A Spectacle in Motion: The Experience. Watch the Panorama scroll by in a life-sized digital format projected in a full theatrical setting.

Online Exhibit

Explore the digital version of The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage 'Round the World with expanded access to the history and narratives.

Audio Tour

Dive deeper into the scenes and stories told throughout the Panorama. Walk the Panorama and the tour takes you around the world through the eyes of a whaler.

Past Exhibit

A Spectacle in Motion: The Original. The exhibition presented America’s longest painting. All 1,275 feet of the Panorama was on exhibit to awe visitors. This was the first time in generations the entire Panorama could be seen by the public.

Exhibition Catalog

This two-volume publication dives into the detail and narrative of the Panorama and allows people to quite literally hold the entire artwork in the palm of their hands.

WGBH News

Restoring North America’s Longest Painting by Bob Seay, January 5, 2018.

AP News

A whale’s tale: Longest painting in North America restored b

Press Release

New Bedford Whaling Museum awarded $180,000 for restoration of famous panorama – America’s longest painting by Gayle Hargreaves