February 8, 2018

Hundreds of scholars, artists and historians to gather for Whaling Museum’s Scrimshaw Weekend, May 4-6, 2018

Nautical Antiques Show kicks off the weekend May 4

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Scholars, artists, historians, and scrimshaw collectors will converge on the New Bedford Whaling Museum May 4 through May 6, 2018 for the 30th annual Scrimshaw Weekend. With more than 5,000 scrimshaw objects in the Whaling Museum’s collection, it is the ideal venue for Scrimshaw Weekend – the world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard art of whalers during the “Age of Sail.” Founded in 1989, this event attracts enthusiasts from across the globe who gather to study, celebrate, and discover this distinctive and beautiful art form.

The 9th Annual Nautical Antiques Show on Friday, May 4 kicks off this year’s Scrimshaw Weekend. The 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 early admission from 11 a.m. to noon. 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 4 with an opening presentation at 8 p.m. Two full-days of discovery, learning, and stimulating talks follow. Weekend highlights include presentations on the history and identification of scrimshaw; recent discoveries about significant makers and genres; newly discovered whaleman and navy scrimshaw-artists; auctioneering and the how-to's of buying and selling; the modern manufacture of legitimate scrimshaw replicas and scrimshaw-theme merchandise. 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.

“This is one of my all-time favorite events at the museum,” said Stuart M. Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus for the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Scrimshaw Weekend host. “It’s the one time each year that people from all over the country and abroad who are interested in scrimshaw (whether or not they are actually collectors) can get together, compare notes, socialize, and maybe swap some pieces. The folks who attend are so interested, so companionable, and so welcoming of newcomers — and with a lots of merriment and a gala banquet in the middle, it’s like what an ideal family Thanksgiving is supposed to be. It’s great fun and I always learn a lot.” 

Registration for the three-day Scrimshaw Weekend is $315 for Whaling Museum members and $370 for non-members. 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 $75 per person. Sunday’s festivities will include an off-site field trip. There is an additional fee (TBD) for the Sunday field trip to cover the cost of transportation and lunch.

For more information or to register for the event, call 508-997-0046 ext. 100 or visit, www.whalingmuseum.org and click on the programs tab.


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 www.whalingmuseum.org.


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







double-cage swift


Double-cage swift mounted on a spool stand, with whale ivory and skeletal bone components inlaid with tortoise shell: an early example, made by William Howland circa 1815-22 and donated to the museum by his granddaughter, Harriet H. Anderson, in 1945.


scrimshaw tooth constitution-Guerriere


Constitution and Guerrière. Naval engagement by the Banknote Engraver. After “The Constitution in Close Action with the Guerrière,” engraved by Abel Bowne for his book The Naval Monument (Boston, 1816).