Current Exhibitions

Highlights Tour
Daily – 11 am 
Group tours led by docents throughout the Museum focus on some of the most historically significant artifacts and visitor favorites. Tours leave from the front desk.

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.

Whales Today

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

Azorean Whalers: A Photographic Retrospective

Featuring images of photographers Louis Mazzantenta and Gemina Garland-Lewis with a focus on the people and cultural history of Azorean whaling.

O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea: Original Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt

An exhibition accompanying Michael Dyer’s new book O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea: Original Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt.

Thou Shalt Knot: Clifford W. Ashley

The Museum celebrates the work of the master knot tyer, maritime artist, historian, and author Clifford W. Ashley.

"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.

Celebrating Sippican: Marion in the Golden Age

Marion history as it rose in social and cultural prominence in the late 19th century as a destination resort community.

The Historic Mariners' Home

Four new exhibitions in the Mariners’ Home explore a theme pertaining to the historic home.

The Yanks are Coming!

Selected World War I posters from the collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Timeless Toys

Featuring Punch and Judy puppets, books, games, and circus memorabilia. The star attraction is an abstract painting by two of New Bedford’s most beloved residents, elephants Ruth and Emily.

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.

Cuffe Kitchen & Park

A multi-media experience about prominent merchant, philanthropist, community leader, civil rights advocate and abolitionist Captain Paul Cuffe (1759 – 1817).

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.

Skeletons of the Deep

Come learn about the four whale skeletons at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

From Pursuit to Preservation: The History of Human Interaction with Whales

Explores the human fascination with whales and the history of whaling. 

Harpoons and Whalecraft

The full spectrum of whaling weaponry devised in the 19th century, from classic harpoons to massive guns, providing new insight into the greatest big-game hunt ever pursued by man.

Outdoor Exhibits

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

Cabinet of Curiosities

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

Last modified: September 7, 2017