New Bedford Whaling Museum to host 28th annual Scrimshaw Weekend, May 13-15, 2016

Weekend kicks-off with 7th Annual Nautical Antiques Show

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The New Bedford Whaling Museum will host the 28th annual Scrimshaw Weekend on May 13 through May 15. This internationally renowned event is the world’s only regular forum where collectors, dealers, curators, folk art and whaling history enthusiasts can share their interest in the historical shipboard art of whalers. Founded in 1989, the event attracts people from across the country and abroad, who gather to share the enjoyment of this distinc­tive and beautiful art form.

 “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 since 1989.  “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.” 

The 7th Annual Nautical Antiques Show on Friday, May 13 kicks off this year’s Scrimshaw Weekend.  The show features high quality 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 5 p.m. with early admission at 11 a.m. Regular admission to the show is free with paid admission to the Whaling Museum, and for Scrimshaw Weekend registrants and Museum members. Admission includes access to the Museum’s galleries and exhibits.  Early admission to the Nautical Antiques Show costs an additional $5.  Museum admission: adults $16, seniors (65+) $14, student (19+) $9, child and youth $6, children ages 3 years and under are free.

The Friday evening Scrimshaw Weekend opening presentation begins at 8 p.m. in the Museum’s Cook Memorial Theater with a tribute to some of the departed heroes of scrimshaw collecting and scrimshaw research, presented by several longtime collectors, dealers, and curators.

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

New Insights into the Work of the Naval Engagement Artist
Interesting and Instructive Scrimshaw Source Images
Scrimshaw in the London South Sea Whale Fishery, 1817-1860
Secrets of Loango Scrimshaw: The Roman Empire and Southwest Africa
The Accidental Bard: Whalemen’s Naïve and Sentimental Keepsakes
Scrimshaw Market Report, 2015-16
Current Status of Pending Ivory Legislation
American Scrimshaw Collectors Association Proceedings, 2015-16

Saturday evening features a banquet in the Whaling Museum’s Jacobs Family Gallery, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception, cash bar and a Meet-and-Greet with legislators involved with pending ivory legislation. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. The evening concludes with a presentation entitled “Totem Poles, Palaoa, and Moai Meet Mutt and Jeff: Scrimshaw in the Pacific Souvenir Trade — Eskimos, Northwest Coast Indians, and Polynesian Islanders, 1783-1940” by Stuart M. Frank, PhD, Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory and Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Sunday will feature a field trip to view an important scrimshaw collection or two. The field trip is open to 2016 Scrimshaw Weekend registrants and their spouses or guests only.  Space is limited, so please register early. 

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 the gala banquet on Saturday evening. The Saturday dinner and evening program can be purchased separately for accompanying guests at $75 per person. There is an additional fee (TBD) for the Sunday field trip to cover the cost of transportation and lunch. Full scholarships are available to university-level students, courtesy of Northeast Auctions.

The 28th 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: Gayle Hargreaves
Director of Marketing
(508) 997-0046 x139


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