Summer Lighting the Way tours will focus on women who changed history

New Bedford Whaling Museum and National Historical Park partner on free one-hour tours

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The New Bedford Whaling Museum is collaborating with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park this summer to offer Women Changing History, a bi-weekly outdoor guided tour exploring the history of New Bedford and beyond through the lives of women who fought to make the world a better place. Tour leaders will share stories of inspiring, civically engaged women, drawing on research compiled by the Museum’s ongoing history project Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast. The free one-hour tours run on alternate Thursdays at 10:30 am beginning on July 18 and running through September 26, 2019. Tours depart from the Whaling Museum, located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA. Details can be found at or by calling 508-997-0046.

The Whaling Museum will also offer three additional Lighting the Way themed tours over the next three months, featuring different historical women on each tour. Women Making a Difference on Seventh and Spring Streets on June 28 at 10:00 am will focus on women such as champion of historic preservation Sarah Ashley Delano, community leader such as Archangela Fortes, peacemaker Rachel Howland, educator and labor leader Margaret Ryckebusch, abolitionists Polly Johnson and Amelia Piper, entrepreneur Phebe Mendall, and brilliant business woman and financier Hetty Green. Women in Education on July 11 at 5:00 pm and Creative Women of New Bedford on September 12 at 5:00 pm coincide with AHA!, New Bedford’s free downtown cultural night, held on the second Thursday of each month. Tours depart from the Whaling Museum and are free and open to the public.

Lighting the Way tells the stories of remarkable historic women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds who shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world. Launched in 2018, the project features a walking trail throughout downtown New Bedford, a robust website with additional information on the women profiled, and a mobile app to use along the trail. The trail map is available at the Whaling Museum and other locations in the downtown area. The app is available at the Apple Store or Google Play.


Whaling Museum/New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Lighting the Way Tours

Thursday, July 18, August 1, 15, 29, September 12, 26

10:30 am – 11:30 am: Women Changing History

Additional Lighting the Way Tours

Friday, June 28, 10:00 am: Women Making a Difference on Seventh and Spring Streets

Thursday, July 11, 5:00 pm (AHA! New Bedford): Women in Education

Thursday, September 12, 5:00 pm (AHA! New Bedford): Creative Women of New Bedford


Gayle Hargreaves
Marketing Manager
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-997-0046 Ext. 139


For high resolution image contact Gayle Hargreaves

Caption: Ann O’Leary, Emily Bourne Fellow and lead researcher for the Lighting the Way project, leading a walking tour last summer, one of many featuring historic women of the SouthCoast.

Lighting the Way tour


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 in the world’s oceans, and the history and culture of the SouthCoast 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: January through March, Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; 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 $17, seniors (65+) $15, students (19+) $10, child and youth $7. For more information, visit