New Bedford Whaling Museum to host 27th annual Scrimshaw Weekend, May 15-17, 2015

Weekend kicks-off with 6th Annual Nautical Antiques Show and features an offsite field trip to preview the Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection at Northeast Auctions in Portsmouth, N.H.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The New Bedford Whaling Museum will host the 27th annual Scrimshaw Weekend on May 15 through the 17. This internationally renowned event is the world’s only regular forum where collectors, dealers, curators, folk art and whaling history buffs share their interests in the indigenous art of whalers.

      “This is one of my all-time favorite events at the Museum,” said Stuart Frank, Senior Curator Emeritus for the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Scrimshaw Weekend host. “The folks who attend are so interested, so companionable, and so welcoming of newcomers. With a big meal and lots of merriment in the middle, it sometimes seems like what an ideal family Thanksgiving is supposed to be. It is great fun and I always learn a lot.” 

        This year’s event will kick-off on Friday, May 15, with the 6th Annual Nautical Antiques Show. The Nautical Antiques Show features an exclusive, high quality sale of marine antiques including scrimshaw, nautical instruments and tools, whaling logbooks, ship models, photos, paintings, prints, New Bedford memorabilia and much more. The Antiques Show runs from noon. to 6 p.m. with early admission at 11 a.m.  The show will take place in the Jacobs Family Gallery, the Cook Memorial Theater and the Resource Room. Early admission for the Nautical Antiques Show is $10. Regular admission to the show is $5 and is free of charge for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees, Whaling Museum members, and with daily admission to the Whaling Museum.

      The Friday evening opening presentation begins at 8 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater and is titled “The JFK Scrimshaw Collection: A New Deal for Collectors.” This presentation will be given by Stuart M. Frank, PhD, Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory and Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum.  

      On Saturday, registration begins at 9 a.m. with opening remarks at 10 a.m. Saturday’s presentations will include:

  • 10:15 a.m. Panbones and Whale Teeth: The Scrimshaw of Two English Masters of the Genre presented by the Hon. Paul E. Vardeman, JD
  • 11:15 a.m. Farmer Goes a-Whaling: Non-Scrimshaw in the Fabulous Collection of Frederick Allen presented by Richard Donnelly, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory
  • 1:30 p.m. Glimpses Behind the Scrimshaw: Those Pesky Scrimshandering Whalemen and Some of the Other Stuff They Did presented by Stuart M. Frank, PhD, Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory and Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum
  • 2:30 p.m. More Yankee Scrimshaw from Polynesia presented by Mary Malloy, PhD, Professor of Humanities, Sea Education Association and Museum Studies, Harvard University
  • 3 p.m. Campaign: The Kennedy Library and JFK Scrimshaw Collection
  • 3:45 p.m. Annual Market Report presented by Andrew Jacobson
  • 4:30 p.m. Inaugural Plenary Meeting of the Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association presented by Parke Madden, President of the Antiques Scrimshaw Collectors Association

      Saturday evening will feature a gala banquet in the Jacobs Family Gallery. The gala begins with a cash bar at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. The evening concludes with a presentation titled “Farthest Refuge: Visions of St. Helena, the Penultimate Resting Place of Bonaparte, and the Advent of the Napoleonic Scrimshaw by Stuart M. Frank, PhD, PhD, Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory and Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

      Sunday will feature a thrilling off-site field trip to Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, N.H. to view the scrimshaw collection of the late Thomas Mittler of Michigan, one of the largest and most comprehensive private collections ever assembled. It has been catalogued, and soon will be published in an illustrated book by Nina Hellman, and has been consigned to Northeast Auctions to be sold in several sessions over the coming months and years. This once-and-only viewing of the whole collection will also include a bonus preview of the Northeast Auctions' spring sale scheduled for the week following. The field trip is open only to registrants at the 2015 Scrimshaw Weekend and their spouse or guest and will be limited.

        Registration for the three day weekend is $295 ($330 after May 1) for Whaling Museum members and $335 ($370 after May 1) for non-members. Registration includes regular admission to the Nautical Antiques Show, all sessions Friday through Saturday, and the gala banquet on Saturday evening. The Saturday dinner and evening program can be purchased separately for accompanying guests at $75 per person. The Sunday field trip is an additional $70 per person which covers the cost of transportation and includes a lunch outing. Full scholarships are available to university-level students, courtesy of Northeast Auctions.

        The 27th annual Scrimshaw Weekend is sponsored by Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, N.H.; The Maine Antique Digest; Antiques and The Arts Weekly (“The Newtown Bee”); and New England Antiques Journal.

For more information or to register for the event, call 508-997-0046 ext. 100 or visit,

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Poyant Moran
Senior Director of Marketing & Public Relations
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Office: 508-717-6839
Cell: 508-965-9861


About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales 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. Museum hours January through March: Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Open on Holiday Mondays. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  For more information, visit