A Spectacle in Motion: The Experience
The exhibition presents America’s longest painting – longer than the Empire State Building is tall.
A Spectacle In Motion: The Experience
Opened: July 29, 2018
Stand on the bow of the world’s largest model whaleship, the Lagoda, and watch the Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage 'Round the World scroll by in a life-sized digital format projected in a full theatrical setting, and experience what Benjamin Russell and other whalers saw as they left the port of New Bedford and traveled the sea in search of whales.
As the Panorama was being conserved, it was photographed at high resolution and now there is a fully digitized recreation of the entire painting for the first time in history. To re-create the original Panorama, this exhibition features the digital version of the life-sized Panorama projected to simulate the 19th-century experience on a theatrical stage (similar to the concept on the cover of the Museum’s Summer Bulletin and the stage graphic above). The stage set is based on drawings and prints from the period and is installed off the Lagoda’s bow so visitors can experience the performance from the deck, from theater seating on the floor level, or from vantage points to the port and starboard of the iconic whaleship. As the original score and narrative have been lost over time, they have been recreated and remastered for the new installation, and includes new research and points of interest.
Dive deeper into the specifics of the Panorama story on a large, touch-screen, interactive kiosk. The kiosk features a map of the voyage, information on related Museum artifacts and paintings, and the Panorama’s conservation history. You will be able to zoom in close to any scene or detail that interests you and get rich context for each section.
Enhancing the experience, artifacts from the Museum’s permanent Collections further illustrate Russell’s own global travels and connect locations represented in the Panorama with relevant ethnographic material and objects. Exhibitions that tell the stories of Yankee Whaling, the connections with the Azores and Cabo Verde, as well as the many stories told in the existing Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World exhibition help amplify the content of the Panorama. The Panorama in the context of its own time – the era of the “public spectacle” is explored in the exhibition, and includes complementing pieces from the Museum’s permanent Collection.