Sailors’ Series: A Century of Design & Invention

Speaker series at New Bedford Whaling Museum
March 10-April 14, 2016

Interview opportunities and event passes for credentialed media are available.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Presentations spanning a century of design and invention in the marine industry will be featured in the “26th Annual Sailors Series” at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this spring. Lectures are on Thursdays, March 10, March 24, April 7 and April 14. Lectures begin at 7:00 pm. Pre-event receptions begin at 6:00 pm. Series tickets are $60 for members; $80 for non-members. Individual tickets for single lectures are $15 for members; $20 for non-members. To purchase tickets visit or call 508-997-0046 ext. 100. The “Sailors’ Series” is supported in part by Luzo Auto, Imtra Corporation and R&W Rope.

“Sailors’ Series” topics this year include the legacy of naval architect and marine engineer Nathanael G. Herreshoff; the history of the whaling vessel Lagoda and her namesake, the Museum’s half-scale Lagoda model, which marks her centennial in 2016; the journeys and travails of the Ernestina-Morrissey, State Ship of Massachusetts; and a century of inspiring marine invention and manufacturing by Edson Marine.

Sailors’ Series 2016: A Century of Design & Invention

Schedule of illustrated lectures

Thursday, March 10

“The Herreshoff Legacy”
by Kurt Hasselbalch, Curator, Hart Nautical Collections, MIT Museum

2016 marks the 150th anniversary of Nathanael G. Herreshoff’s enrollment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. N.G.H. was perhaps the most successful of MIT’s early students and set the bar for all later graduates in naval architecture and marine engineering. The curator will give a talk about his extraordinary career and discuss MIT Museum plans for an exhibition and digital catalog based on the Herreshoff Legacy.

Thursday, March 24

Lagoda: A Favored Ship and Her Legacy”
by Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian, New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM) & Arthur Motta, Curator, Old Dartmouth & New Bedford History, NBWM

The whaling vessel Lagoda, purchased by Jonathan Bourne of New Bedford in 1841, was one of the most profitable whaling ships in Bourne’s fleet.  In 1916, Jonathan’s daughter Emily Bourne donated funds to build the Jonathan Bourne Whaling Museum building on Johnny Cake Hill, as well as the half-scale model of the Lagoda in memory of her father.  The unprecedented building project was under the able supervision of Edgar B. Hammond (1853-1937). A prominent local architect, builder and five-term commodore of the New Bedford Yacht Club, Hammond threw himself into the project, researching every aspect of the work.  At 89 feet long, it was at the time and remains today, the largest ship model in the world.  Learn the engrossing history of both the whaling vessel and the ship model in this joint presentation by historian Michael Dyer and curator Arthur Motta.  

Thursday, April 7

“The Rebirth of the Ernestina-Morrissey”
by Chester Brigham, author, “Phoenix of the Seas", Harold Burnham, Burnham Boat Building” & David Short, Boothbay Harbor Shipyard

Join author Chester Brigham as he recounts the journeys and travails of the Ernestina-Morrissey, State Ship of Massachusetts. The schooner, repeatedly written off as doomed, is now undergoing a hull rehabilitation at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine - phase one of a complete restoration. Master Shipwright David Short and Owner’s Representative Harold Burnham will provide insights into the restoration project.

Thursday, April 14

“Edson: 157 Years of Continuous Manufacturing in Massachusetts”
by Will Keene, President, Edson Marine

Recognized as one of Massachusetts’ oldest continuously operating businesses, Edson Marine has a story full of passion, integrity, and continuous innovation. Edson began in 1859 with Jacob Edson’s invention of the diaphragm pump. From the worm-steering systems for 19th-century fishing fleets, to the invention of radial drive steering in the 1970s, and beyond, Edson’s president Will Keene will lead you through over a century of inspiring marine invention and manufacturing in this intriguing talk.


At a Glance

Sailors’ Series 2016: A Century of Design & Invention

Thursdays: March 10, March 24, April 7, April 14

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Receptions: 6:00 pm / Lectures: 7:00 pm

Single Lecture: Members $15 / Non-Members $20

Series: Members $60 for all four / Non-Members $80 for all four

For tickets:  Order online at or call 508-997-0046 ext. 100

18 Johnny Cake Hill

New Bedford, MA


Contact: Gayle Hargreaves
Director of Marketing
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 139 (office)


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. For more information visit