Collaborative Exhibitions in São Vicente and São Nicolau, Cabo Verde
In 2016, The New Bedford Whaling Museum and City Officials unveiled a major long-term collaborative exhibition in São Vicente and São Nicolau, Cabo Verde. A City and Museum delegation from New Bedford, Massachusetts were guests of Mr. Mario Lucio de Sousa, Minister of Culture and Humberto Lima, President of the Office of Cultural Heritage, in Cabo Verde in early February. Curators from Cabo Verde worked with curators at the Whaling Museum for three months preparing this major trans-Atlantic partnership. Ligia Timas, Senior Advisor to the Cabo Verdean Ministry of Culture and Ana Samira Silva, Institute of Cultural Heritage travelled to New Bedford in November and December 2015 to conceive and design the exhibit. Whaling Museum curator Arthur Motta subsequently travelled to Cabo Verde in advance of the formal delegation to advise on exhibition planning and oversee the successful arrival of 50 Whaling Museum artifacts.
The exhibition in São Vicente is located in the heart of Mindelo at the Museu do Mar and encompasses two of its four floors. The building, erected in 1937, is located on the waterfront and is a replica of the famous Torre de Belém in Lisbon. The Museu do Mar overlooks the port from which the Ernestina departed in 1982. Poignantly, many “Packets” departed from there too, bringing Cabo Verdean emigrants to the U.S. The exhibition tells the story of Yankee whaling and the important role played therein by Cabo Verdeans.
Divided between the two sites are 50 artifacts gifted from the Whaling Museum to the Ministry of Culture. These include models of the C.W. Morgan and the Ernestina, along with examples of harpoons, scrimshaw, prints and photographs.
The exhibition in Tarrafal, São Nicolau has a focus on Yankee whaling around the “St. Antonio Grounds” in Cabo Verde and the subsequent important shore-based whaling station on São Nicolau. The Wanderer and C.W. Morgan provisioned in São Nicolau, and there was a Seaman’s chapel located in Preguiça. Humpbacks were hunted to near extinction. Now 150 years later, the humpbacks are returning to this area to breed and can be seen from the cliffs. The museum in Tarrafal was a tuna factory once owned by a Joaquim Pinheiro, a former whaler, until donated and refurbished by the Institute of Cultural Heritage.
The New Bedford delegation included Dr. Patricia Andrade, Whaling Museum trustee and co-chair of the Cabo Verdean Advisory Committee; Dagny Ashley, representing Mayor Jon Mitchell and Tourism and Marketing Director for the City of New Bedford; Sarah Budlong, Director of Development and James Russell, President & CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Photo Caption Top Left: Delegates from the City of New Bedford and the New Bedford Whaling Museum were on hand recently at the opening of a major new permanent exhibition at the Museu do Mar in São Vicente, Cabo Verde. Curators from Cabo Verde worked with curators at the Whaling Museum to prepare and mount the exhibition, which tells the story of Yankee whaling and the important role played therein by Cabo Verdeans.
Photo Caption Left: Mario Lucio de Sousa (middle), Cabo Verde Minister of Culture and James Russell (left), President New Bedford Whaling Museum explore a new permanent collaborative exhibition at the Museu do Mar in São Vicente, Cabo Verde. Curators from Cabo Verde worked with curators at the Whaling Museum to prepare and mount the exhibition, which tells the story of Yankee whaling and the important role played therein by Cabo Verdeans.
The permanent exhibitions are sponsored in part by:
The William M. Wood Foundation
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Cabo Verde Ministry of Culture
Institute of Cultural Patrimony in Cabo Verde