Past Exhibitions

One of the advantages of the digital age is that a page or pages online, unlike the printed page, are instantly editable. Here we present exhibitions that have ended. At the same time we will add related content if it improves or adds to the ideas presented. We will do this respecting the integrity of the original pages.

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Past Exhibitions are listed on this page. If you are looking for information from a previous year, click on the following links    2012    before 2012  

“These are My People!”: The Story of Artistides de Sousa Mendes

This nationally touring exhibition, appropriate for audiences of all ages, tells the gripping true story of the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.

Reed’s Modern Studio

An Apprenticeship Program Exhibition – modernizing photographer James E. Reed (1864-1939) and reviving his legacy.

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.

Exploring Biodiversity in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Winning art from the Massachusetts Marine Educators 2017 Marine Art Contest

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.

Out There: Peter Pereira Photojournalist

The extraordinary work of New Bedford’s award-winning photojournalist Peter Pereira.

Claus Hoie: "The Log of the Whaler Helena" and Related Works

Illustrations by renowned Norwegian-American artist Claus Hoie, who specialized in whaling subjects and Moby-Dick inspired scenes.

Famine, Friends and Fenians

New Bedford stood front and center in a sweep of history vividly brought to life in this major exhibition. From the Great Irish Famine through to 1916, New Bedford can claim its fair share of line honors in an intriguing story combining Yankee grit and Irish pluck.

Early 20th Century Norwegian Whaling in Co Mayo, Ireland

A photographic exhibition presented by the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Ballycroy, Westport and Co Mayo.

Mapping Ahab's "Storied Waves"

Whaling and the Geography of Moby-Dick – an examination of the tools, techniques and resources mentioned by Melville.

Inner Light: The World of William Bradford

Oils, watercolors, and sketchbooks illuminate the life and work of one of New Bedford's greatest artists.

Power, Performance and Speed in 20th Century Yacht Design

A celebration of two masters of American yacht design – C. Raymond Hunt and W. Starling Burgess.

Treasures of the Whaling Museum: Touchstones to the Region's Past

While many of our treasures are on display throughout the Museum, this show highlighted objects included in the book of the same name that are not included in thematic exhibitions in other galleries.

Following Fish

From the upper deck of the Museum visitors could see a beautiful panoramic view of the local fishing fleet and imagine being at the local fishery in the past, present, and future.

Oceanic Harvest

Mixed-media prints inspired by Moby-Dick and created by Robert Del Tredici and Kathleen Piercefield were featured. The prints were recent acquisitions of the Melville Society Archive, which is housed at the Whaling Museum.


Large-scale photographs by internationally renowned artist Nuno Sá, the most awarded wildlife photographer from Portugal.

International Gallery

Highlights of the Museum’s exceptional collection of fine and decorative arts, navigational instruments, ship models, artifacts, manuscripts, and maps from around the world.

In the Heart of the Sea: Hollywood goes A-Whaling

Thanks to the generosity of Warner Bros. Pictures, this exhibition featured four costumes on loan from the film In the Heart of the Sea with additional artifacts included from the Museum collection.

Around the World and Back Again: New Bedford Artists Abroad

From the mosques of the Middle East to the Roman Forum, see the world as 19th century New Bedford did: through the eyes of its artists.


Favorite pieces from the Museum's ceramics collection, representing various techniques and ranging from the fine and decorative arts.

Of Earth and Sea

Contemporary artists respond to the New Bedford Whaling Museum collection.

Benjamin Russell: Whaleman-Artist, Entrepreneur

This exhibition explored Russell’s self-training and subsequent work targeting an audience with specialized knowledge of whaling. 

The Art of Seeing Whales

Highlights from the Elizabeth Schultz Collection, the Melville Society Archive, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Art of the Ship Model

Marine models viewed as a true decorative art form. Collections of the past, present and future.

Martin & Moby

Large scale paper cuts of various interpretations taken from the text of Moby-Dick.

Glass from the City of Light

Beautiful glass lighting, including the renowned Pairpoint “puffy” and reverse-painted table lamps, together with art glass made locally by the Mt. Washington Glass Company.

Harbor Views

Images of New Bedford and Fairhaven from the permanent collection.

Téjela: Weaving Stories, Weaving Lives

Maya textiles from the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology (Brown University) and the weaving collective Oxib’ B’atz (New Bedford).

Seven Continents, Seven Seas

This exhibition highlighted the broad international and chronological compass of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

100 Years of Mountain Photography – from Vittorio Sella and Bradford Washburn

This was the second in a series of exhibitions following in the wake of  "Arctic Visions: Away then Floats the Ice-Island."

Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex: Paintings by Jason Hancock inspired by Moby-Dick

Abstract paintings using visual elements from Moby-Dick depicting the turbulent nature of the seas.

Arctic Visions: "Away then Floats the Ice-Island"

William Bradford as artist, innovator, adventurer, observer of history, culture and science.


Portraits of a Port

Whaling history featuring Museum classics and the finest examples of scrimshaw anywhere.

In the Unequal Cross-Lights

Outdoor Sculptures, Contemporary Sculptors Respond to the Whaling Museum Collections

Following the Panther: The Arctic Photographs of Rena Bass Forman

A selection of Rena Bass Forman's prints taken from her trip in 2006 to the West coast of Greenland.

Celebrating Generosity: Gifts from the ESK Collection

Selected works from the Eliot Stetson Knowles Collection.

Sitting in New Bedford

What do scallop shells, a girl on a swing, people working in a sail loft and in the Pairpoint glass factory have in common? They were each at one time or another, 'sitting' in New Bedford.

Last modified: January 25, 2018