Museum in the Community

The New Bedford Whaling Museum opens the dynamic world of whales, the tales of whaling and history of Old Dartmouth to classrooms through programs at the Museum, in schools and on the web. Our teachers and volunteers ask guiding questions to spur inquiry based learning, which leads students to become more curious about the world around them. Access to the Museum’s artifacts and primary sources, both at the Museum and on-line, heightens student engagement. These encounters with our world-class collections improve reading, writing, communication and research skills.

In 2015 Museum staff introduced grade-level appropriate content in multi-sensory, hands-on, innovative ways within three New Bedford Schools: Roosevelt Middle School, J.D. DeValles Elementary School, and Lincoln Elementary School. We also worked with community partners to create blueSTEAM, a collaborative ocean project.

William H. Taylor Elementary School

The Whaling Museum worked with grade five students from Taylor Elementary School, and Educational Passages on a project to build and launch a miniature, self-steering, GPS-enabled sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean. Whaling Museum staff, assisted by Museum docent Peter Fenton, gave in-class presentations on oceanography, geography, navigation, currents, and boat building. The students named the boat Little Lagoda, decorated it, and decided what items and messages should be included in the boat’s watertight compartment. The Northeast Maritime Institute assisted with launching Little Lagoda in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream on May 10, 2017, 25 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard and 20 miles south of Nantucket. The 2018 launch from Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s T.S. Kennedy took place off the coast of the Dominican Republic. The Taylor School students were able to track the boat via the GPS transmitter on board. View the 2017 launch on YouTube.

J.B. DeValles Elementary School 

This after-school program was supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The curriculum for this pilot program and students’ work, as well as links to resources incorporated can be viewed online here

Roosevelt Middle School

Students developed research projects related to whales and whaling under the guidance RMS teacher Ms. Mutnansky and Museum staff. Museum primary sources, materials in the galleries and on the Museum’s website were made available. The Museum provided a Chromebook to each student to use at school during the life of the project, and to facilitate student to student and school to museum collaborations.

Lincoln Elementary School

Ms. Roderick and her 3rd graders, after visiting the Museum and working with both staff and docents, published a very creative newspaper called  The Weekly Whaler. Each student wrote and contributed artwork to this publication. Download the pdf here.


BlueSTEAM is a collaborative ocean project developed and executed by the Museum, Buzzards Bay Coalition, Boys and Girls Club of Greater New Bedford, Lloyd Center for the Environment, Community Boating Center, and studio2suststain inc. BlueSTEAM explores our ocean heritage, our ocean resources, and our role in fostering a future of great innovation, great culture, great diversity and global significance. More information here.