Application Period Open for Educators to Participate in Moby-Dick Teaching Institute

Application Period Open for Educators to Participate in Moby-Dick Teaching Institute

February 6, 2020

Teachers encouraged to apply by March 1 for “Moby-Dick and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age”

New Bedford, Mass. – The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in association with Melville Society Cultural Project, will welcome 25 teachers from around the country for the two-week summer institute “Teaching Melville: Moby-Dick & the World of Whaling in the Digital Age.” The “Teaching Melville” institute, which runs June 19 to July 2, 2020, will illuminate Herman Melville’s famous 19th-century American novel and help educators interpret the book for 21st-century students. The institute is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is free for the teachers who are selected. The application period is open until March 1, 2020. Teachers who are interested in learning more or applying should visit

Moby-Dick is one of the most frequently referenced and adapted American novels, and it is becoming more popular and relevant with time. While the book is a classic, it grapples with current-day issues like globalism, multiculturalism, political power, and environmentalism. The distinct format of the novel – with its series of 135 relatively short chapters—calls for classroom techniques well-suited to reading habits shaped by digital encounters. Institute participants will delve into the rich world of Moby-Dick, gain a better understanding of Melville’s literary power, and understand how to interpret the book’s critical concepts for their students.

The interdisciplinary Institute is particularly appropriate for teachers of secondary school literature, but teachers of history, social studies, science, and other disciplines—as well as teachers at other grade levels and school administrators—are encouraged to apply. Twenty-five teachers will be selected to attend the Institute, while thousands of educators will be able to access the curriculum online.

The Institute will be hosted at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, a meaningful location for intensive study of Herman Melville’s masterpiece in the context of the whaling industry. Melville arrived in New Bedford on Christmas day 1840 and shipped nine days later on the Acushnet from Fairhaven across the harbor. Since 2000, the Whaling Museum has partnered with the Melville Society Cultural Project to offer scholarly programming and the Museum is home to the Melville Society Archive, which constitutes one of the best collections of Melville scholarship anywhere in the world.

Six nationally recognized scholars make up the Melville Society Cultural Project, aimed at sharing an understanding of Herman Melville’s writings, life, and times. They will serve as principal faculty of the Institute: Jennifer Baker, New York University; Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, University of Connecticut; Christopher Sten, George Washington University; Robert K. Wallace, Northern Kentucky University; with Timothy Marr, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wyn Kelley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; serving as the Institute co-directors. Jeffrey Markham, an experienced English teacher from New Trier High School and a participant in the 2018 institute, will also serve as institute faculty. 

About the Melville Society Cultural Project
The Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP) is a research-oriented group of scholars within the Melville Society dedicated to fostering a critical understanding of Herman Melville’s writings, life, and times. The Project, in affiliation with the New Bedford Whaling Museum, collects scholarly and artistic texts related to Melville, oversees the Melville Society’s Archive, and contributes to a wide variety of programming at the Whaling Museum and elsewhere. The MSCP seeks to promote public awareness of and appreciation for Melville and his writings and assist other scholars and teachers, as well as educational and cultural institutions, in becoming well-informed about the author and his work. In these roles we take seriously the importance of building partnerships across communities to ensure that the humanities survive and thrive outside the academy. For more information go to

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Evan England
Managing Director, NAIL[PR]
(401) 753-5588

About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum ignites learning through explorations of art, history, science and culture rooted in the stories of people, the region and an international seaport. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for Whaling Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $19, seniors (65+) $17, students (19+) $12, child and youth $9. For more information visit