Current Exhibitions

Under a Stiff Breeze: The Art of Wind and Water

Featuring some of the more tempestuous works of marine painting in the collection along with a selection of Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Wind and Current Charts.

Portraits of a City

Photographs from the Museum’s Standard Times collection take you on a journey through the neighborhoods and vibrant ethnic enclaves, wharves, establishments, individuals, and legendary stories that marked New Bedford in the early 20th century.

De Wind is Op! Climate, Culture and Innovation in Dutch Maritime Painting

An exploration of our extraordinary collections of Golden Age Dutch and Flemish paintings through a fresh lens.

The Photographer’s Brush: Watercolors by Norman Fortier

This exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see many works from private collections by a truly remarkable local artist.

George Gale: ‘A Sea-nurtured Artist’

More than 30 whaling and maritime prints and drawings on paper by the New Bedford illustrator George Gale.

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.

Frederick Douglass Bicentennial: 1818 – 2018

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a.k.a. Frederick Douglass was a fiery orator, author, champion of abolition, women’s rights and a freedom fighter in the age of the Civil War.

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.

The Forecastle

A replica of a ship's forecastle in the Casa dos Botes Discovery Center.

Maritime Treasures

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

The Historic Mariners' Home

CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO EXHIBIT REDESIGN. Exhibitions in the Mariners’ Home explore themes pertaining to the historic home.

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