Current Exhibitions

A City for the Arts: Masterworks of Greater New Bedford

This exhibition celebrates our region’s tremendous impact through the centuries on American Fine Art that continues to resonate, reverberate, and inspire.

Ripples. Through a Wampanoag Lens.

Elizabeth James-Perry takes a look back, a look at the present, and a look at the future, through local, indigenous, contemporary art.

In the Neighborhood

Alison Wells fuses significant local influences along with her Caribbean culture and sensibilities to create unique and vibrant mixed media, large scale paintings.

Local Artist: Rhonda M. Fazio

Our lobby display case highlights her textiles and natural dyes, and her story as part of the Common Ground project.

Youth Voices for the Ocean

This special exhibit features artwork by the student winners of the international Ocean Awareness Contest run by local nonprofit Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs.

Entangled: Ghost Whales

Sculptures by Kristian Brevik viewable at various locations in the Jacobs Family Gallery.

Whales Today

The second installation of a major expansion of Whales Today, the Museum’s whale ecology, ocean health and marine mammal conservation exhibition.

Captain Paul Cuffe: His Work, Vision, and Living Legacy

An exhibition devoted to the life, times, and legacy of Captain Paul Cuffe — an abolitionist, entrepreneur, merchant, whaler, navigator and much more.

A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World – The Experience

Stand on the bow of the world’s largest model whaleship, the Lagoda, and watch the Panorama scroll by in a life-sized digital format projected in a full theatrical setting.

Enlightened Encounters: The Two Nations of Manjiro Nakahama

An exploration of the remarkable life of Manjiro Nakahama (1827-1898), the first Japanese person to live in and learn English in the U.S.

The East Unlocks its Gates: American Whalers and Trade in Asia

This companion exhibition to Enlightened Encounters focuses on the broader connections between the eastern seaboard of America and Asia.

"The Spray will Come Back": Solo Circumnavigator Captain Joshua Slocum

An exhibition accompanying Stan Grayson’s new biography of Joshua Slocum – the first person to circumnavigate the globe singlehandedly.

For the Love of Beauty

Featuring New England Fine and Decorative Arts, including the Museum’s Pairpoint and Mount Washington Glass Collections.

Energy and Enterprise: Industry and the City of New Bedford

Focusing on the people, products, and infrastructures behind the rhythmic rises and falls of an industrial city.

Harboring Hope in Old Dartmouth: 1602-1827

This exhibition contextualizes the story of yankee whaling within the larger scope of Old Dartmouth history and the evolution of the port city of New Bedford.

"Go a whaling I must, and I would": Life Aboard a New Bedford Whaling Vessel

This exhibition highlights the men, materials and activities aboard a whaling vessel.

A Voyage Around the World: Cultures Abroad, Cultures at Home

Grab your passport and experience the diversity of cultures encountered by whalers as they travel the world. 

Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers

A sumptuous exhibition of the best, most representative, and most compelling curiosities of our vast scrimshaw holdings.

Cape Verdean Maritime Exhibit

Connections between New Bedford and Cape Verde, the unique characteristics of Cape Verdean culture, and the special legacy of that culture and history here in New Bedford.

Azorean Whaleman Gallery

Chronicling Azorean/American cultural exchange in the 19th century.


Climb aboard an 89-foot, half-scale model of the Bark Lagoda, built inside the Bourne Building in 1916.

Outdoor Exhibits

View outdoor installations on the Museum Plaza, along Water Street and from the Davis Observation Deck.

Maritime Treasures

Figureheads, shipwright's tools, sternboard carvings and more can be found on display in the Cook Memorial Theater.