Hundreds of scholars, artists and historians to gather for Whaling Museum’s Scrimshaw Weekend, May 10-12, 2019

World’s only forum devoted to the art of scrimshaw

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Scholars, artists, historians, and scrimshaw collectors will converge on the New Bedford Whaling Museum May 10 through May 12, 2019 for the 31st annual Scrimshaw Weekend. Scrimshaw Weekend is the world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard art of whalers during the “Age of Sail.” The Whaling Museum’s massive collection of thousands of scrimshaw objects makes it the ideal venue for the event.  Scrimshaw Weekend attracts enthusiasts from far and wide who gather to study, celebrate, and discover this distinctive and beautiful art form. The weekend begins with the 10th Annual Nautical Antiques Show on Friday, May 10, and continues on Saturday and Sunday with presentations and an optional field trip to Nantucket. The Whaling Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, Mass. For more information visit or by call 508-997-0046.

The Nautical Antiques Show features high-quality antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers. The Antiques Show runs from noon to 5 p.m. with an early-bird bonus hour beginning at 11 a.m. The show and its early-bird session are free for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees.  Admission to the show is free for Museum members and with regular admission to the Museum for non-members.  Early-bird admission is available to Museum members and non-members for an additional $5.

Scrimshaw Weekend officially begins Friday, May 10 with an evening presentation on “Scrimshaw Collected by the Fishermen Themselves,” by Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus for the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Two full days of discovery, learning, and stimulating talks follow. Weekend highlights include presentations on the resolution of a 30-year old scrimshaw mystery, scrimshaw tools, newly discovered features of masterworks, highlights of a private collection and from a number of museum collections, and new books and online resources. The weekend also features a report on the scrimshaw market, the Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association (ASCA) report, and a cocktail reception, banquet, and keynote address on Saturday evening titled “What to Do and See on Nantucket.”  

Registration for Scrimshaw Weekend is $340 for Whaling Museum members, $395 for non-members, and $85 for students. Registration includes regular admission to the Nautical Antiques Show, all sessions Friday through Saturday, and dinner on Saturday evening. The Saturday dinner and evening program can be purchased separately for accompanying guests at $85 per person. Tickets to the optional Sunday field trip are separate and in addition to the fee for the weekend.


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: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; April through December, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Admission through March 31 is free for Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information visit


For high resolution images contact Tina Malott   
Director of Marketing
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 x 140

carpentry tools

Carpentry tools with commercially manufactured steel blades and lathe-turned, sailor-made handles using (L-R) bone, whale ivory, bone, blade and panbone, whale ivory, panbone. Kendall Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum


ivory pie crimpers

Distinctive jagging wheels grace these four ivory whale ivory pie crimpers from the Frank and Annie Seabury Wood Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum.


panbone work baskets

Lattice-work panbone work baskets. Shown with balls of yarn and scrimshaw knitting needles. Kendall Collection, Howland Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum.


scrimshaw tooth whaling scene

Whaling scene, ship Daniel IV, circa 1828. This image shows the ship hove-to (backwinded), with boats lowered in pursuit. Kendall Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum.