Treasures in the collection

With over 750,000 individual objects and a fine research library, the Museum has numerous unique “treasures” in rarity, quality, beauty, and historical interest. Many of our treasures are on display throughout the Museum and included in the souvenir book of the same name.  A typical museum displays only 10% or less of their collections at any given time, while the rest is hidden behind the scenes in storage. This webpage presents an overview of some of the wonderful treasures of the Museum along with links to related information throughout the Museum website.

The collection includes the world’s most extensive library of whaling logbooks, prints, and journals and the largest collection of scrimshaw. In the Bourne Building resides the ship model, Lagoda, a half-scale whale ship built in 1916. Complete skeletons of four species of whale, including a rare Blue whale, a sperm whale and a humpback, plus a mother and fetus of the highly endangered Northern Atlantic Right whale, inform today’s pressing global issues of the pursuit and preservation of these remarkable animals.

Treasures of the Whaling Museum: Touchstones to the Region’s Past, published in 2015 by Old Dartmouth Historical Society – New Bedford Whaling Museum, provides an in-depth introduction.

Let Freedom Ring (Chapter 5) published in The Bulletin Fall 2015


Past Exhibition

The exhibition highlighted objects included in the publication that were not included in thematic exhibitions in other galleries.

Buy the book

Learn more about the publication and order a copy at the Museum’s online store The White Whale.


Listen to each chapter of Treasures of the Whaling Museum.


An introduction to many of the treasures in the collection. (Link to come)

Last modified: June 20, 2017