Make your own crankie or mini-panorama at free Whaling Museum workshop

At Kilburn Mill, New Bedford August 18

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The New Bedford Whaling Museum will offer visitors the chance to make their own mini-panoramas when they come to see the exhibition “A Spectacle in Motion: The Original,” featuring America’s longest painting, the Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World. On Saturday, August 18 artist and performer Sue Truman will lead a free crankie-making workshop at Kilburn Mill, 127 West Rodney French Blvd. in New Bedford from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, while supplies last. A crankie (prounounced kraNG-kē) is an old storytelling art form where a long illustrated scroll is wound onto two spools and loaded into a box with a viewing screen. The scrolls are hand cranked while users tell a story, sing a song, or play a tune. It takes about 30 minutes to complete one crankie and visitors can participate anytime during the workshop. This free program is suitable for adults and children ages 6 years and up. For more information visit or call 508-997-0046.

Truman first encountered crankies as an art form in 2011. “I had been looking for years for a way to combine the folk art images I love with the fiddle tunes I play.  When I saw the crankies I knew ‘This was it!’ I jumped in with both feet and it has been my passion ever since.” Truman runs the website and has performed and presented in the US, Canada and abroad.

In 2017, the Whaling Museum completed the conservation of the 1,275-foot-long Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World, painted in 1848 by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington. The painting was originally created as a moving panorama and was essentially a massive crankie. “A Spectacle in Motion: The Original” features the enormous painting in its entirety at the Kilburn Mill and runs through October 8, 2018. “A Spectacle in Motion: The Experience” presents a large-scale digital reproduction of the artwork as a theatrical moving picture show, similar to what audiences would have experienced in the 1850s. This exhibition runs through 2021 at the Whaling Museum.


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. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. 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


Media contact:
Tina Malott
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum

Contact Tina Malott for high-res images.


Handmade crankie or mini-moving panorama. Photo courtesy Sue Truman.


sue truman with crankie

Sue Truman with one of her crankies. Photo by Doug Plummer.


visitors viewing panorama

Visitors view the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World in “A Spectacle in Motion: The Original” at Kilburn Mill in New Bedford. The painting is longer than the Empire State Building is tall. Photo credit: Peter Pereira