September 29, 2016

Special Centennial Programming at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this Fall

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Whaleship Lagoda – World’s Largest Ship Model

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – This year marks a century in which the Lagoda – the world’s largest ship model – has been wowing visitors from around the world at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. A new line-up of activities and programs is taking place this fall to celebrate the famous ship and its equally impressive “brick berth,” the Bourne Building, which was specially built to house the Lagoda. The ship and its story are no less remarkable today than in 1916 when they were dedicated.

On January 4, 1915, Miss Emily Howland Bourne (1835-1922) confirmed she would build a soaring, church-like structure atop Johnny Cake Hill adjacent to the Dartmouth Historical Society’s gallery of whaling artifacts. Moreover, it would be purposely built to house the world’s largest ship model.  She would build it as a memorial to her beloved father, Jonathan Bourne, one of New Bedford’s most successful whaling agents. The ship to be immortalized was his favorite, the Lagoda – the most successful of his fleet.

A century later, the museum is offering museum goers of all ages opportunities to relive the whaleship’s voyages and learn about the history and significance of the half-scale model, as well as the Bourne Building. For these and all museum programming, visit for schedules and details.

On Saturdays, from October 1 through November 19, explore the ship and its history. Activities are free with admission.

Saturday activities:

  • 10 a.m.  Venture below deck on the Lagoda! Get your chance to see what it was like for the crew below deck on a whaleship.
  • 10:30 a.m.  Experience all of the must-sees of the museum with a docent-led highlights tour.
  • 11 a.m. What is a Nantucket Sleigh Ride? Learn how Yankees changed whaling forever in this special tour of Yankee whaling history.

Centennial lecture series:

Vision, philanthropy, adventure, and history will run through a Centennial lecture series in October and November. Lectures will take you through the story of the real whaleship Lagoda, as well as how the whaleship model was built and why. Events are free for members and $15 for non-members. College students are always welcomed free of charge.  You will have two chances to see each presentation – an abbreviated, half-hour lunchtime version, or the full lecture in an evening presentation.

  • “A Labor of Love: Building the World’s Largest Ship Model” by Arthur Motta Jr., Curator of Old
    Dartmouth and New Bedford History – Evening session: Thursday, October 6 at 7 p.m.; Lunchtime session: Tuesday, October 11 at 12 p.m.
  • “Lagoda: A Favored Ship and Her Legacy” by Michael P. Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian –
     Evening session: Thursday, October 27 at 7 p.m.; Lunchtime session: Tuesday, November 1 at 12 p.m.
  • “A Whaling Voyage Around the World” by Dr. Christina Connett, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, and Jordon Berson, Director of Collections – Evening session: Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m.; Lunchtime session: Tuesday, November 8 at 12 p.m.
  • “Who was Emily Bourne?” by Peggi Medeiros, Historian and Author – Evening session: Thursday, November 10 at 7 p.m.; Lunchtime session: Tuesday, November 15 at 12 p.m.

Centennial guest speakers:

  • “Frozen in Time: An Early New Bedford Carte de Visite Album” by archeologist Susan Lukesh; October 20 at 6 p.m.
  • “Whaling in Cabo Verde” by  José Cabral, Director of the Municipal Office of Local Development – Municipality Tarrafal de São Nicolau, Cabo Verde; November 17 at 6:30 p.m. 

Contact: Tina Malott
Communications Manager
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 140 (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 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. 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 $16, seniors (65+) $14, students (19+) $9, child and youth $6. For more information, visit Programming and schedules are subject to change. Please check the website for the most up-to-date information.