New Bedford Whaling Museum opens Dr. Gilbert and Frima Shapiro Gallery, July 4

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) – The Dr. Gilbert and Frima Shapiro Gallery opens to the public on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4. “This opening represents the fulfillment of a vision as described in a campus-wide master plan adopted 4 years ago by the trustees,” states Chairman Armand Fernandes, Jr. “This new gallery completes a major new axis of programming along Water Street that now include 4 magnificent spaces.  The public can now start their tour in the recently renovated Cook Memorial Theater, continue through the Jacobs Family Gallery, and circulate through the Shapiro and Wattles Family galleries.  Importantly the addition of the Shapiro Gallery allows for the opening of the long shuttered historic “original entrance” of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.  Dr. Shapiro notes, “that despite the museum’s incredible growth, it has historically not had enough gallery space in which to exhibit more of its vast collection of paintings, while at the same time continue to host the many changing exhibits for which it has become widely popular. As a result of this need and in recognition of the museum’s longstanding role in the community as a unique educational and cultural asset, we are pleased to help make this new space a reality for the enjoyment of all.”

The gallery celebrates the fine and decorative arts of New England, particularly in the innovative and unique designs of leading regional artists and craftsmen from the turn of the last century.  Dr. Christina Connett, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, noted “the Shapiro Gallery is in the original Rogers Building, built in 1883 during the height of the decorative style in American architecture. It is the perfect location to house our fine and decorative arts collections from this period, including our fabulous glass collection. The inaugural exhibition is based on the American Aesthetic Movement, and was designed around an exquisite Pairpoint cut glass and sterling silver vase donated by the Shapiro family.”

The gallery is elegant and accessible with historic architectural details. It adds over 1,000 square feet of gallery space for fine art, and allows visitors to view the original vestibule and entrance, replete with historical plaques commemorating the 1906 opening of its first public galleries.

Until recently, the room was a classroom but due to the growth of the educational programs, these activities will soon take place in expanded quarters in the new Wattles Jacobs Education Center, scheduled to open in September.

Dr. Shapiro was elected to the Museum’s Board of Trustees in 1984. During his time on the Board, he served as Chairman of the Nominating Committee from 1986-1987 and was elected Second Vice President in 1987. In 1989, he was elected First-Vice President and assumed Presidency of the Museum in 1991. His tenure saw a time of profound transformation. With his combined energy and expertise, the Board, staff and volunteers, along with generous donors, achieved a series of milestones that positioned the Museum to become the world’s leading interpreter of the global whaling story.

A well-known orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shapiro has practiced in the south coast region for many years. A former chair of Southcoast® Health, Dr. Shapiro has also traveled the world to volunteer his services as a physician with Project Hope and Orthopedic Overseas.

Mrs. Frima (Timmy) Shapiro has taught dietetics during overseas medical volunteer trips with her husband. She is a Horticultural Garden Club of America Judge and was a former vice-president of the Garden Club of America.


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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. 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