At the Museum - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Students from Laurie Desroches fourth grade class at the Pacheco School, listen as New Bedford Whaling Museum volunteer Carol Zaslona, talks about the whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling.

Field Trips

Whether at the museum or virtually, you will enjoy our field trips!

Guided Education Programs

Guided Programs at the Museum are currently postponed for the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers, and employees.

The Museum’s Education Team is happy to work with you and your group to provide customizable self-guided tours. The Museum is also happy to provide Virtual Programs in your classroom and home! Please check back often or join our mailing list for updates on upcoming Guided Programs.

Self-Guided Visit Information (pdf) Educator Resources

At the Museum

Joshua Slocum seated on cabin roof of SPRAY, hands crossed, in Washington, DC, 1907, original taken by Winfield Scott Clime, plus copy negative (JS-194).

A Whaler’s Story

Elementary (K-1)
Up to 45 students | 60-75 minutes

Students will explore the everyday life of a sailor on a whaleship. They will sign up as crew onboard the Lagoda and learn the different roles of the crew, work together to row an imaginary boat, discover what sailors brought and made on long voyages.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Learn about different jobs and roles on a whaleship
  • Discover the daily lives of whalers on a whaling Voyage

What is a Museum All About?

Elementary (K-1)
Up to 45 students | 60 minutes

Museums have large collections of many kinds of objects. In this tour, students will learn about museum collections and how they sort artifacts into different categories. This hands-on program demonstrates the processes of selection and explanation while visiting several galleries.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Sort common objects into categories, or collections, and explain their reasoning
  • Observe properties of various objects including size, shape, color, and texture

Whales Today

Elementary/Middle (K-8)
Up to 80 students | 90 minutes

Whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) are fascinating animals that have captured our attention for centuries. Through the use of real whale artifacts, hands-on teaching tools, and our magnificent skeletons, students will learn about these amazing animals and discover how closely they are related to humans.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Compare structures of related species
  • Examine adaptations that enable survival in a watery environment
  • Listen to audio files and see visual representations of sounds of different cetacean species
  • Discuss various ways that students can help protect whales today

Sorting It All Out

Elementary/Middle (2-6)
Up to 30 students | 90 minutes

Sorting is an everyday occurrence that helps us stay organized and make sense of what is around us. Scientists known as taxonomists have been using the current scientific system for the past two centuries to sort the world’s organisms. Students will take on this role to organize a variety of marine creatures.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Determine how scientists organize animals in the taxonomic ranking system
  • Classify organisms according to shared characteristics
  • Review defining features of several major groups of animals
  • Create their own simple scheme for sorting animal models
Exhibitions_OnView_CapeVerdeanMaritime_supporting Image 2

Cultures with Connections

Elementary (4-6)
Up to 50 students | 90 minutes

Nineteenth century whalemen established cultural and economic ties with ports in the Azores, Cape Verde, Brazil, Hawaii and Alaska. In this tour, students will have the opportunity to explore the similarities and differences between these cultures through mapping, role playing and interactive exhibits.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Identify the differences in the climate, physical characteristics and major natural resources of New Bedford, Hawaii, and northern Alaska
  • Use maps to locate regions in the United States
  • Recognize the diverse nature of the American people
  • Investigate objects to understand cultural traditions, ceremonies, and celebrations

Simple Machines

Elementary (4-6)
Up to 50 students | 90 minutes

The type of whaling that operated out of New Bedford was powered by human muscle and wind. This difficult work was made easier by using simple machines. These machines could be found everywhere on a ship. This program will show students the many tools and simple machines that were used to form essential tasks.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Identify simple and compound machines used onboard a whaleship and a whale boat
  • Understand the importance of maritime industries
  • Hear the story of a Nantucket Sleighride told as a tale of interacting simple machines
  • Raise and lower a cask and boat sails
Whale feeding on plankton swimming on the surface filtering the water

Understanding Marine Food Webs

Elementary/Middle/High (4-9)
Up to 30 students | 90 minutes

The ocean is a busy place. Organisms of all sizes are eating and being eaten, thus transferring life-giving energy among all levels of the food pyramid. This program highlights marine food chains and webs, with special attention placed on whales. Baleen, teeth, and other natural artifacts are used to help demonstrate how whales get their food.

Learning standards will be met, as students:

  • Explain their roles within food webs
  • Create simple food chains for two of the Museum’s whale skeletons – the right whale and sperm whale
  • Link trophic levels by creating a marine food web
  • Use computer-based interactive lessons to examine the roles of producers, consumers and decomposers
Clifford Warren Ashley 1881-1947_Small Craft_1914

Portraits of a Port

Middle/High (6-12)
Up to 80 students | 90 minutes

From the Wampanoag people’s encounter with Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 to the peak years of the whaling industry in the 1850’s, the SouthCoast region evolved from a subsistence agricultural community to a prosperous port called New Bedford. In this 90-minute tour, students will explore the stories of individuals and groups – indigenous people, explorers, settlers, entrepreneurs, whalemen, freemen of color, formerly enslaved people, and abolitionists – who helped make New Bedford historically unique.

Learning standards will be met as students:

  • Learn about the indigenous people of New England and explore the early relationships that developed between them and European settlers
  • Discuss European explorers, including Bartholomew Gosnold
  • Explore the relationships between Puritans, Pilgrims, and Quakers in the 17th and 18th centuries
  • Identify important people and groups responsible for the growth of the port of New Bedford
  • Discuss abolition and abolitionists and their contributions and significance in New Bedford