Frequently Asked Questions

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

Visitor Services

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: I would like to learn more about places to eat.

A: Destination New Bedford lists Places to Eat on the website. There are a wide variety of places to eat within walking distance from the Museum in downtown New Bedford.


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 in the Jacobs Family Gallery. Please check the Calendar for current listings or visit Programs on this website for further information about vacation week and summer activities.


Q: I need information about 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: I would like to learn more about upcoming talks or programs at the Museum.

A: Visit our Programs page or check the Calendar page, also visible on the homepage, for current listings.


Q: What time do the programs begin?

A: Programs can begin and end any time during regular Museum hours, pending availability of space and program. The Education Department works directly with the teachers to arrange your schedule.


Q: How many students can participate in one program?

A: This varies depending on the program. Most history programs can comfortably accommodate up to 75-100 students. Science programs can accommodate up to 30 students at one time. Please contact the Education Department for more details.


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

A: Yes! ALL of our 14 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.


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

A: The Museum’s resources are many and varied from online databases of library, manuscript, photographic and 3-D object collections to exhibits, publications and staff expertise. As the world’s pre-eminent collection of objects documenting world whaling history and the local history of the Old Dartmouth region, the Museum’s resources are best suited to addressing 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 are available via email, telephone, FAX , post, 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 permanent, education and library 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.


Digital Initiatives

Q: What is a New Bedford Whaling Museum digital initiative, and why would it need a department of its own?

A: The Department of Digital Initiatives and its various projects was established in 2009 to respond to the increasing demand in incorporating new technologies and to respond to dramatic change in the museum workplace and visitor experience.  Museum visitors are now a truly worldwide constituency and are no longer restricted to traditional forms of communication. They increasingly rely on the internet to discover and explore; research and learn; organize and plan; communicate and develop.


Q: What is a digital initiative?

A: A broad definition of a digital initiative would be any project, process, or enterprise that is computer borne, or has migrated to the computer, and that improves access to museum collections, information, programs, or products.


Q:  What are the goals of the Department?

A: Ongoing department goals are to:

  • Provide network integrity by maintaining and upgrading equipment as needed.

  • Enhance the museum experience through integration of multimedia exhibit components.

  • Enhance the virtual experience by delivering web-based content, reflecting and enhancing the museum experience.

  • Foster entrepreneurship through collaboration among staff, volunteers, community members, and consultants.

  • Deliver sustainable solutions to prioritized projects.

  • Create and preserve digital archives and deliver comprehensive digital management policy.


Q:  What are some of the more recent activities and projects of the Department?

A:  Timely information is best viewed on the wiki site at


Q: I would like to purchase a high quality exhibit reprint. Do you provide this service?

A: High quality print productions can be purchased through 1000|Museums.  This exclusive collection is continually updated as new works are added to the offering. If you have further questions, contact the Photo Archive Department at (508) 997-0046 x207, or e-mail


Q: I am having a problem viewing a slideshow (or video, etc) on your website. Who can I contact?

A: Under most circumstances, you may send an email with your message to or contact the museum via the comments/questions form available on the CONTACT page


Q: Where can I find more information about the Department of Digital Initiatives?

A: If you would like to learn more about the Department, a comprehensive and dedicated website is available at the Department of Digital Initiatives wiki site


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 at:

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: 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 made to 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: Is this item locally made?

A: A lot of our items are locally made and or made in the USA. However, we do carry other items that are made abroad.


Q: What do I get a 10% discount on in the store?

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 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.



Last modified: December 12, 2017