Museum in the Community

Every year, students and educators collaborate with the museum to create dynamic projects at the Museum, in schools, online or in the community. Educators and students can access the Museum’s artifacts and primary sources, both at the Museum and on-line, enhancing the teaching and learning experience. Please read below for more information on recent Museum supported community projects and activities.

2018: The Whaling Museum, assisted by docent Peter Whelan, worked with grade five students from Taylor Elementary School, and Educational Passages on a project to assemble, customize 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.

Spring 2019: Students designed their own exhibition covering a wide range of topics from women’s roles aboard ships, contributions of Cape Verdeans and African Americans, and the overhunting of the North Atlantic Right Whale. The exhibition featured original pieces of student work. In preparation for the exhibit, students made multiple trips to the Whaling Museum to meet with educators and curators to learn in depth the topics they were researching and designing their exhibition space.

2019: Through a series of visits to the museum and research in the classroom, Nativity Prep students created art that reflected their knowledge on whale biology, evolution, and whaling history. Their art creations were displayed in their April 2019 exhibition titled Of Whales and Men: New Bedford and her subject.

March 2019: In 1889, “Her Works Do Follow Her” was inscribed on Martha Bailey Briggs’ tablet memorial at Howard University. Young students from YWCA Girls Exclusive at Keith Middle School reflected on the work of Briggs, an influential educator and abolitionist, and other historic women of the Southcoast in their first-ever podcast. Students used the profiles of historic women from the Museum’s Lighting the Way Project and showcased their work at listening stations during Women’s History month at the Whaling Museum. Students also visited the Museum and participated in an indoor Lighting the Way tour hosted by Museum docents.

Since 2016: The fourth grade classes perform in-school research on whaling logbooks and the shipboard art of scrimshaw. They learn several sea chanteys in their school’s music program. They also visit the Museum to view a movie about New Bedford and the whaling industry, and participate in our Portraits of a Port program. The students then integrate all of this information and create their own logbook entries, scrimshaw, and board games that explain the vagaries of the whaling industry. We then host the students and their families for a performance of sea chantey singing, display of their writing and art, and some friendly competition with their board games.