Collections Overview

The New Bedford Whaling Museum has been collecting historic artifacts, documents, books, and photographs for over 110 years, it is not surprising that our collections today are large and diverse, comprised of approximately ¾ million items. While owning the world’s most comprehensive collection of art, artifacts and original documents of whaling history the Museum also collects broadly in maritime and local history. Collections include objects across a broad range of categories:  fine and decorative art, folk art, photography, domestic artifacts, artifacts that represent the history of technology and industry, books, manuscripts, maps and charts, ethnographic materials, clothing and textiles, and extensive personal, business, and financial records. This is a very diverse and rich social history collection.

Collections Highlights

Collections include objects across a broad range of categories: fine and decorative art, folk art, photography, domestic artifacts, artifacts that represent the history of technology and industry, books, manuscripts, maps and charts, ethnographic materials, clothing and textiles, and extensive personal, business, and financial records.

Search Collections

Search objects, library holdings, and photographs in the online database.

Collections Conservation

Current collection care projects plus twelve illustrated ways to prevent damaging works of art.

Recent Acquisitions

Generous gifts and purchases build our collections.

Rights and Usage

Information about commercial and educational usage of images from the Museum’s collection.

Last modified: December 8, 2017