Frequently Asked Questions

If you need further help, please visit the Museum’s contact page. 

General Information

Q: What are your admission fees and hours?

A: For complete information on admission and hours go to Visit on this website or call the Visitor Services Desk at (508) 997-0046.


Q: How do I get to the Museum?

A: Please go to Visit on this website for driving directions.


Q: What restaurants are around the Museum?

A: There are a wide variety of places to eat within walking distance from the Museum in downtown New Bedford. Destination New Bedford has a great list of options.


Q: What programs does the Museum offer for children?

A: Depending on the time of year, the museum offers a variety of programs for children such as free crafts and activities. Please check the Calendar for current listings or visit Programs on this website for further information about vacation week and summer activities.


Q: Do you offer group tours?

A: The Museum offers reduced rates for groups of ten or more, with guided and self-guided options available. Advance reservations are required for all group visits. Please contact or call (508) 997-0046 ext. 185 for additional information or to schedule a visit. More information can be found at Group Tours on this website.


Q: How can I find out about upcoming talks and programs?

A: Sign up for our eNewsletter to receive up-to-date info on Museum happenings, or visit the programs pages or calendar on this website.



Q: Do you have education programs for schools?

A: Yes! Click here to see our brochure.


Q: Do your programs align with the Mass. Curriculum Frameworks?

A: Yes! ALL of our 13 programs (history and science) comply with the Mass. Curriculum Frameworks / Common Core. Programs are routinely updated to ensure continued compliance with these standards. Please contact the Education Department for specific standards met. Click here for a full list of available school programs. 


Q: I am interested in two different history programs. Are you able to blend them into one program for my students?

A: Yes! We are able to adapt most of our programs to fit the needs of your students. Please contact the Education Department to coordinate the specifics of your tour.

Collections & Exhibitions

Q: What are the current exhibitions?

A: Click here for a list of our current exhibitions.


Q: Where can I find information on past exhibitions?

A: Click here for a list of our past exhibitions.


Q: What do you have in your Collection?

A: Collections include objects across a broad range of categories: fine and decorative art, folk art, photography, domestic artifacts, artifacts that represent the history of technology and industry, books, manuscripts, maps and charts, ethnographic materials, clothing and textiles, and extensive personal, business, and financial records. Click here to explore our Collection.


Q: How can the Museum help me with researching an object in my collection?

A: Questions pertaining to paintings, prints, photographs, works on paper of all kinds, marine hardware, whaling tools and weapons, ship models, ethnographic objects, scrimshaw, business records, rare books, logbooks and journals, manuscripts and ephemera. Museum staff is available via email, telephone, and, with an appointment, personal meeting, to discuss the history and significance of items in private and public collections. The Museum staff do not offer opinions and cannot comment on the market value of objects and do not appraise objects either verbally or in writing.


Q: How does the Museum acquire objects?

A: Since 1903, donations and bequests have been the source of the largest number of objects in the collection. Museum staff meet regularly to assess the significance of materials being offered for donation to the collections and upon staff recommendation, the Board of Trustees votes quarterly to approve all acquisitions intended for permanent accession. On occasion, when an object is deemed essential to the Museum’s mission, either through its rarity, quality or didactic value and is offered through private sale or at public auction, the Museum will attempt to acquire the piece through purchase. The Museum will seek and accept items on loan for the specified period of a particular exhibit or for a specified period for study. The Museum does not accept long-term loans from individuals. In certain circumstances, such as partnerships with local non-profit or educational institutions, the Museum will accept historically significant collections on deposit for long-term care.


Q: Where is the Research Library’s Grimshaw-Gudewicz Reading Room located?

A: The Research Library is on Level 3 of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.


Q: What are the Research Library’s hours?

A: The Research Library’s Grimshaw-Gudewicz Reading Room is open to researchers every Tuesday through Friday: 10 am – 4 pm as well as the first Saturday of each month from 10 am – 4 pm.


Q: Do I need to make an appointment prior to visiting?

A: Researchers are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with Librarian Mark Procknik: (508) 997-0046 ext. 134, or


Q: What sorts of materials does the Research Library have?

A: The Research Library houses 18,000 published titles as well as primary source material ranging from manuscript collections, nautical charts, logbooks, and more. You can find a complete description of the Library and its holdings at:

Q: Where can I see the Research Library’s holdings?

A: The Research Library has the finding aids to its manuscript collections posted at:  You can also browse or search through the Library’s online catalog here.


Q: Does the Research Library offer inter-library loan?

A: Yes. Microfilm reels of the Research Library’s Logbooks are available through interlibrary loan. All loans must be orchestrated through a university or library. There is a $15.00 charge per loaned reel, and only one reel per loan is permitted.  Inter-library loan can be arranged by calling the Research Library at: (508) 997-0046 ext. 134, or by email at       

Q: Are there any fees for conducting research? 

A: Members* always free, non-members $17. All research fees must be paid at the Museum’s admission desk prior to entering the Library.
*Free access is a benefit of Museum membership and is extended as well to partner organizations including the staff and volunteers of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Rotch-Jones-Duff House, the New Bedford Free Public Library, the New Bedford Historical Society, and the Melville Society.

Admission for all non-members reflects current Museum admission of $17.00 per day.

Q: Can I make photocopies of materials in the Research Library?

A: Photocopies from the permanent collection may be made only by the Librarian, the Assistant Librarian, or another authorized Library staff member at the discretion of the Librarian.  The rate is 25 cents per copy with a limit of no more than 20 copies per research visit.

Q: Are laptops allowed in the reading room?

A: The use of laptops is permitted and encouraged.

Q: Is digital photography allowed? 

A: A $10.00 flat fee per day is required for any amount of digital photography. All digital photographs of library collections must be used for reference purposes only. Please note that this fee must be paid at the Museum’s admission desk prior to entering the Library. 

Membership & Development

Q: What does a Membership include?

A: Click here for Membership levels and benefits.

Q: I already bought Whaling Museum admission ticket(s); can my purchase go toward a new membership?

A: If you decide to purchase a membership after visiting the Museum, you may apply the cost of your admission ticket(s) to a new membership if it is purchased on-site on the same day as your visit.

Q: How long does it take to receive my membership cards? How do I visit the Museum before my cards arrive?

A: Your permanent membership cards will arrive in the mail 2 – 3 weeks after you purchase your membership. If you find yourself at the Museum without your card, visitor services will be able to look your membership up for you to use that day.

Q: Can I use my card at other museums?

A: We have reciprocal admission programs for our members at the Associate level ($150) and above with the Council for American Maritime Museums (CAMM) and the North American Reciprocal Museums (NARM) to give our members free or discounted admission to over 400 museum throughout North America.

Q: I lost/forgot my membership card. What should I do?

A: If you’re visiting the Museum, bring a picture I.D. to the Admissions Desk and we will look up your membership in our database. Replacement cards may be ordered by contacting Steven LePage at (508) 997-0046, ext. 132 or by e-mail at

Q: Are donations and memberships tax deductible?

A: Yes, donations and membership fees for the NBWM are tax-deductible as specified by IRS regulations. Gifts of securities may have additional tax benefits.  Bequests, trusts and other planned gifts can offer significant tax benefits.  For more information, contact the Development Department at (508) 997-0046 x116.

Q: What is the NBWM’s EIN #?

A: 04-2104805

Q: Who supports the NBWM?

A: The NBWM is supported by over 3,000 individuals, businesses and foundations each year. Click here to see a list of our corporate supporters.

Q: How will my donation be used?

A: The Whaling Museum’s continued growth depends on increased resources and with each donation we are closer to realizing our goals for another year.  Our supporters help the NBWM to present the very best in arts, cultural, educational and community programs that enrich the lives of our growing world-wide audience.

Q: How can I make a gift of securities?

A: To request information or to make a gift to the Whaling Museum, please contact Sarah Budlong at (508) 997-0046 x150 or

Q: How can I make a bequest or planned gift?

A: To request information about making planned gifts or lean more about the types of gifts you can make to the Whaling Museum, please contact Sarah Budlong at (508) 997-0046 x150 or

Museum Store

Q: What is the store’s hours of operation?

A: The store is open during normal Museum business hours and special extended hours during the holiday shopping season.


Q: How do I sell my product in your store?

Contact the Store Manager at 508-997-0046 or email


Q: As a member, what do I get a 10% discount on?

A: Everything. The only items excluded are consignment pieces and items on sale. Of course, if the item on sale is less than your discount, you will receive the better price.


Q: Are all of your items in the store available on the web store?

A: Yes, the majority of the items in the store are available online, and we are constantly adding new products to the site. If you find anything in the store that you would like to purchase, call us at 508-997-0046 anytime to place an order and we will ship directly to you.


Q: How do I get a copy of a painting in your Museum?

A: We offer a company called 1000|Museums that is used worldwide to get copies of many prints.