Changing Tides: The New Bedford Waterfront
in Transition

Exhibition Date:  2011

Coast Guard Vessels at State Pier
Coast Guard Vessels at State Pier, photo by
Norman Fortier

Once as America's richest whaling port, to its current status as the nation's #1 commercial fishing port, the New Bedford waterfront and the work that goes on there have seen enormous transformation. Installed in the San Francisco Room, which overlooks the harbor, the exhibition explored the port's many changes with images selected from the Museum's immense photo collection. The photographs date from the 1870s to the 1980s, revealing the port's many transitions and the evolution of the vessels calling it home.

Kate Mello, the Whaling Museum's Photo Archivist, was curator for the exhibition. "These images were selected from thousands of photos in our collection because they illustrate how dynamic the changes in the port have been over last 150 years. They underscore the ongoing change that only seems to accelerate with every passing year," said Ms. Mello.

From the San Francisco Room, the exhibition overlooked New Bedford's famed commercial fishing fleet — a major economic engine for the region — and hailed, at the time, by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as "a vital part of our history and economy" in his letter to President Obama seeking regulatory redress for the fishery.

Schooner Mary E. Simmons and Bark Desdemona at Merill's Wharf

Schooner Mary E. Simmons and Bark Desdemona at Merrill's Wharf, photo by Orville Bass

This program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



Last modified: December 7, 2011