High School Apprenticeship Program
A 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYPA) winner, and recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Programming award from the Education Professional Network (EdCom) of the American Alliance of Museums, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s High School Apprenticeship Program transforms the lives of youth in its community. The program provides low-income, academically motivated students with access to resources and experiences that deepen community engagement, promote personal and professional development, and cultivate college and career success.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s High School Apprenticeship Program (YouTube video 6:58)
Apprentices learn about whales and whale biology, the history of the American whaling industry, the art and artists that flourished in the region, Frederick Douglass and New Bedford’s connection to the Underground Railroad, and the stories of the countless immigrants from the Azores, Cape Verde, and elsewhere, whose culture, language, and accomplishments are alive in the community, and exhibited throughout the Museum. Students then connect their learning at the Museum to real-world experiences, visiting cultural sites, planning and hosting events and serving as Museum ambassadors.
At the same time, the program helps Apprentices prepare for their futures, visiting college campuses, listening to career speakers, going on career shadows while receiving support through the college application and financial aid process.
While the three-year program is a long journey, high school graduation is just a milestone. Alumni apprentices are supported beyond graduation and stay connected to the Museum in various capacities.
Perhaps most important, the Apprenticeship Program is a family of students that learn, grow and laugh together, calling the Museum home.