Updating Yankee Baleeiros — A Shared Heritage traveling exhibition


  1. Explore broad themes surrounding the pursuit of the “American Dream”, including immigration and assimilation, material culture and language, plus issues surrounding identity, race and ethnicity. 
  2. Build a traveling exhibit that allows the Museum to extend its interpretation and scholarship to identified and receptive communities across the nation. The contention is that the inspiring stories of Portuguese, Cape Verdean and Brazilian immigrants will resonate with a broad audience and frame the American whaling story in the context of pursuit of the "American Dream".
  3. Highlight through programs and exhibits the accomplishments of the Portuguese, Cape Verdean and Brazilian communities and by doing so increase awareness of the Portuguese contribution to the U.S. and demonstrate how their contributions were fundamental to the building of the country.
  4. Celebrate the humanities through the presentation of a ½ sized version of the Museum’s 1848 panorama “A Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World”. 
  5. Build strong and enduring community participation through active involvement as the Museum honors the important roles played by these communities. 

Humanities Themes:

  1. Window on the “Old Country”: Social, economic, and political factors in the “Old Country” had a significant impact on the development and success of Lusophone mariners in Yankee whaling.
  2. Perception, Reception, and Pursuit of the American Dream: Populations from the two island groups, sharing the same maritime tradition, experienced very different receptions once in their adopted country.
  3. The Lusophone Diaspora—East Coast: In the post-Civil War era, Lusophone communities took root around traditional centers of the whaling trade and developed strong social networks.
  4. The Lusophone Diaspora—West Coast: The disproportionate participation of Portuguese peoples in Yankee whaling enables an in-depth case study of the Lusophone diaspora with a pronounced emphasis on the West Coast.
  5. Lusophone Culture in the Arts and Humanities: The strong oral traditions from the Azores, Cape Verde and Brazil have had a direct influence on a) Luso-American artistic and literary culture, and b) American literary culture.
  6. Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World: The rich visual contextual narrative provided by this superlative panorama links the major Ports of Call in the Atlantic Ocean.
  7. From Pursuit to Preservation: While Lusophone diaspora to America is inextricably tied to 19th century commercial whaling, Portuguese countries worldwide have embraced whale watching and whale conservation.

Last modified: January 22, 2014