Explore the region’s centuries-old relationship with the sea and the many people who contributed to its dynamic past and diverse present.

Once the whaling capital of the world, New Bedford is now America’s #1 commercial fishing port. Discover the world’s largest, most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales through time. Located in the heart of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park, the museum complex features five magnificent whale skeletons, a walk-on 1/2 scale ship model of the bark Lagoda and 23 galleries devoted to art, history and science.


Explore what's on exhibit at the Museum.


The Museum has been collecting historic artifacts, documents, books, and photographs for over 100 years.  It is not surprising that our collections today is comprised of approximately ¾ million items.


Read about the latest conservation efforts, explore sound recordings online, learn about the Museum’s whale skeletons on display, discover fascinating facts and more!


The library holdings consist of 18,000 published titles in ten languages documenting whaling history, voyages and travels, exploration, natural history, and local histories.

The Grand Panorama

The Panorama is a maritime artwork of national historical importance, authentically depicting a whaling voyage originating from the port of New Bedford in the mid-19th century.

Herman Melville

Melville’s New Bedford connection and the Melville Society’s library and archives – housed at our Research Library.

Captain Paul Cuffe

Paul Cuffe (1759-1817) is a remarkable historic figure of the Old Dartmouth region.

Joshua Slocum

More than a century ago in Fairhaven, Mass., Joshua Slocum rebuilt an old sloop called the Spray and it was on that vessel that he made history.

Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast

Exploring the historical impact of women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds who shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world.


The Bulletin, Whaling Museum publications and previews of upcoming books, Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches and Kendall Whaling Museum Publications.


Keep in touch with the Whaling Museum on our website and in your own online communities.


Explore our databases of crewlists, photo collections and family papers.