Up From the Depths: Natural Selections from our Collections - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Up From the Depths: Natural Selections from our Collections

Up From the Depths: Natural Selections from our Collections

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Big Braitmayer Gallery,

October 11, 2024 – September 7, 2025

The collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum / Old Dartmouth Historical Society are an impressive array of fine art, ethnographic objects, whaling implements, nautical artifacts, textiles, household items, and detailed documents from around the world. Included in this global ensemble is a variety of objects with a derivation from the natural world, both terrestrial and aquatic. Some of these artifacts appear as one might expect; others have been artfully modified by an artist or collector.

For the first time in nearly a century, we will host an exhibition focused solely on this aspect of our collections. It will feature bones, teeth, baleen, shells, wings, beaks, other natural specimens, and anatomical illustrations. You will see animal structures used as a medium to depict other animals. There are coconuts bigger than your head and shells as small as your fingernails. Some were collected close to New Bedford. Some were brought into port after a long whaling voyage.

Many of these artifacts will be on exhibit for the first time; others haven’t been seen in decades. All will impress you with their beauty or their clever reuse of form and function.

Curated by Associate Curator of Science and Research, Robert Rocha.