Special Programs

Whether you are preparing for a visit to the Whaling Museum with a student group, looking for professional development opportunities, or conducting your own research, we provide a number of special opportunities for educators and students to engage with the Museum and our collections and resources. For more information on specific special programs, please read the descriptions below. To book a Special Program, please visit our Rates and Reservations page.

Customized Tours

Explore specific content areas in more depth through a customized tour. The Education Department
will work with you to customize a guided experience based on your needs. Below are some examples
of customized tours we have offered in the past. Please note that customized tours are subject to
schedule availability and may have group size limits. Guided group rates apply.

Captain Paul Cuffe was a seafarer, entrepreneur, educator, visionary, and much more. Cuffe rose to prominence and became one of the wealthiest men of color in the nation at a time when it was all but impossible for an African American or Native American man to do so. This tour will explore Paul Cuffe’s life and legacy of struggling for equality and justice that continues to inspire us today.

Capture the imagination and interest of all students through the exploration of the characters and action in Herman Melville’s great American novel. Whether students have read an abridged version or immersed themselves in the full-length novel, the Moby-Dick program enhances students’ understanding of the adventures and trials of whaling.

As educators and philanthropists, abolitionists and crusaders for social justice, investors and confectioners, sister sailors and millworkers, women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds have shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world. This tour explores the remarkable stories of women that are captured throughout the museum.


Primary Source Sessions

These one-time sessions allow educators or students to explore primary sources from the Whaling
Museum’s archival collection. Primary sources can enhance lesson plans, student projects, or other
experiential learning opportunities. These sessions can be organized for groups of teachers or
students but require advance notice in order for library staff to retrieve all requested items and other
relevant materials from storage. Please note that primary source sessions are subject to schedule
availability and may have group size limits.


Outreach Programs

Outreach programs bring museum educators or resources to your classroom, so you and your
students can explore the Whaling Museum’s art, humanities or science content in your home school.
Designed in collaboration with the New Bedford Public School District, our science outreach
programs pursue multiple lines of investigation through the study of whales. Please check the
Museum’s website for details on current outreach programs.

Whales and their kin are not only a source of amazement and awe, they are a great vehicle for teaching science. This multi-lesson curriculum created for the fourth grade classes of New Bedford Public Schools connects students to a variety of life science topics via interaction with Museum staff, hands-on classroom-based activities, and an engaging study trip to the Museum. Teachers are introduced to the program at a summer professional development workshop during which they receive a kit with all materials needed to lead the in-school activities. This program is a collaborative effort among the Museum, New Bedford Public Schools, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Although they are often not seen during the course of our daily lives, waves, both mechanical and electromagnetic, are all around us and play an integral role in communication, ocean travel, and business. This physical science pilot program for sixth grade students will investigate the properties of waves, how they travel through various media and how whales use them for feeding and survival. Central to the activities is the collection of whale sounds in the William A. Watkins Collection of Marine Mammal Sound Recordings and Data. Several of these files will be used as teaching tools in this program. This is a multi-visit program that utilizes an in-school visit, teacher-directed lessons, and a visit to the Museum. It also begins with a professional development workshop during which teachers receive a kit of resources.


Professional Development Workshops

Professional development workshops hosted at various times throughout the year let educators
engage with Museum exhibitions, initiatives or projects through a particular focus area or theme.
Please check the Museum’s website often or join our mailing list for updates on upcoming


Educator Nights

Network, explore our exhibitions or projects, and discover new ways to use the Museum as a
resource while enjoying food, music and activities provided by the Museum. We host multiple
Educator Nights throughout the year. Please check back often or join our mailing list for updates on upcoming Educator Nights.

PAST EVENT: Educators’ Night
Thursday, October 24, 2019  Learn more