November 2,2017

Whaling Museum Historians to Explore Early America/Asia relations

The East Unlocks its Gates: American Whalers and Trade in Asia lecture on November 15, 2017


New Bedford, Mass. – New Bedford Whaling Museum curators and historians will discuss themes explored in the exhibition The East Unocks its Gates: American Whalers and Trade in Asia during a lecture on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 beginning at 7 pm at the Whaling Museum. Chief Curator Christina Connett, Ph.D.;  Curator of Social History Akeia Benard, Ph.D.; and Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer will address the relationships built between American whalers, merchants, and the East, and the remarkable life and influence of Manjiro Nakahama (1827-1898), the first Japanese person to live in and learn English in America. Speakers will also discuss how trading was the impetus behind the Western “Age of Discovery,” ushering in key components of maritime history in the modern age. A reception at 6 pm precedes the lecture. Cost to attend is $10 for Whaling Museum members and $15 for non-members. To register call 508-997-0046 or visit

The East Unlocks its Gates and its companion exhibition Enlightened Encounters: The Two Nations of Manjiro Nakahama opened on October 8, 2017 and were timed to coincide with the 2017 centennial of the America-Japan Society, which was founded by U.S. and Japanese intellectuals to pursue educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries. This year also marks the 190th anniversary of Manjiro’s birth and the 30th anniversary of the Sister City agreement between Fairhaven/New Bedford, and Manjiro's home town of Tosashimizu.

For images contact:

Tina Malott
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum







Detail: Li Zhizao, Mappa Mundi panel 3 of 6. Ink and watercolor on paper, 1602-1629.










Hizen Goto Kujira Ryo no Zu (Catching Whales at Goto, Hizen Province). Hiroshige Shigenobu II, c. 1859-60. Woodblock print on paper, 13 x 8 ½ in.

About the New Bedford Whaling Museum

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of human interaction with whales through time, and the history and culture of the South Coast region. 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. Museum hours: April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; January through March, Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free for Museum members and children aged three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information visit