Whaling Museum opens new $8 million learning center

Wattles Jacobs Education Center to help students and visitors discover New Bedford’s maritime past and future

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Benefactors Kathy and Gurdon Wattles, and Joan and Irwin Jacobs, cut the ribbon on the Wattles Jacobs Education Center on September 26, opening the new $8 million wing of the New Bedford Whaling Museum named in their honor. The festive ceremony was held outdoors on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon with the more than 250 guests lining the street in front of the Center. The ribbon-cutting kicked off a weekend-long celebration of the addition of this new community asset. More than 1,754 visitors toured new center during the two-day celebration.

The official opening of the 20,000 square-foot Center marks the largest expansion of educational space in the Museum’s 112-year history, quadrupling its classroom capacity and reuniting its Research Library with the Museum campus, which is located in the heart of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. The Center is an education tool for New Bedford students and dovetails with the city’s educational goals.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Hon. Armand Fernandes, Jr., Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees noted that many benefactors “privately funded 90% of this beautiful building” and he emphasized how the new facility will enable the Museum to “embrace digitalization supporting a model of open access, create distance-learning classrooms, and engage new audiences by creating expanding portals for greater public access.”

About the Wattles Jacobs Education Center

The Wattles Jacobs Education Center enables the Whaling Museum to meet its dramatically expanding programming needs for the more 16,000 students who attend museum programs annually.  In its mission to foster lifelong learning in the community, the Museum provides a broad range of formal and informal educational programs for students, educators, scholars and visitors.


CONTACT: Arthur Motta
Director of Marketing and Communications
New Bedford Whaling Museum
508-717-6853 (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 www.whalingmuseum.org