31st Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

The world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard art of whalers during the “Age of Sail.”

31st Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

10th Annual Nautical Antiques Show

Friday, May 10 – Sunday, May 12, 2019

Member $340  |  Non-member $395
Plus 1 Dinner Guest $75

Registration included admission to the Nautical Antiques Show, admission to all lectures and sessions, refreshments, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and banquet dinner, and admission to all Museum galleries all three days. Discounts available for museum professionals.

Sunday’s Optional Field Trip: $80 (separate from scrimshaw weekend tickets)

The world’s only regular scrimshaw forum, where enthusiasts from across the country and abroad gather to enjoy this distinctive and beautiful art form. Attendees enjoyed two full days of discovery, learning, and stimulating talks plus the Nautical Antiques Show. 

scrimshaw tooth
Photo Caption: Whaling scene, ship Daniel IV, circa 1828. This image shows the ship hove-to (backwinded), with boats lowered in pursuit. Kendall Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Whaling Museum is the scrimshaw capital of the world, and the annual Scrimshaw Weekend is the world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard art of whalers during the “Age of Sail.” Founded in 1989, this gala event attracts enthusiasts from across the country and abroad who gather to share the enjoyment of this distinctive and beautiful art form.

Defined as the making of utilitarian and decorative objects from the hard byproducts of whaling – sperm whale ivory, walrus ivory, baleen, and skeletal bone – scrimshandering had its heyday on American and foreign whaleships in the Age of Sail, and scrimshaw-making carried over to the modern shore-whaling stations and factory-ships of the 20th century.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive scrimshaw collection, and has uniquely been hard at work examining and cataloguing scrimshaw from its own collection and from all over the world, disseminating the results. The Scrimshaw Weekend is characterized by a wide spectrum of world-class scrimshaw, fine food, new ideas, and high camaraderie. Seasoned collectors and distinguished experts as well as antiques dealers, neophyte collectors, whaling history devotees, and interested bystanders from all over the country, coast to coast, attend the weekend events.


Friday, May 10  |  Nautical Antiques Show

Noon – 5 pm | Early-Bird Bonus Hour 11 am – Noon
Harbor View Gallery

The Nautical Antiques Show kicked off this year’s Scrimshaw Weekend. The show featured high-quality antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers. Attendees could view and purchase scrimshaw, nautical instruments and tools, whaling logbooks, ship models, photos, paintings, prints, and more. Free with Museum admission, for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees and Whaling Museum members. Early admission for an extra $5. Learn more

8 pm Friday Opening Presentation
Cook Memorial Theater

Scrimshaw Collected “by the fishermen themselves”:  Scrimshaw Acquired from Shipmates and Brought Home by the Whalemen by Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D. (Senior Curator Emeritus, New Bedford Whaling Museum; Research Fellow, Nantucket Historical Association; Director, Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory)

Saturday, May 11  |  Scrimshaw Weekend

10 am – 6 pm | Presentation Highlights
Cook Memorial Theater

  • Outstanding Scrimshaw Tools
  • Important Fragments: Newly Discovered Features of Classic Masterworks
  • Inside a Private Collection
  • Collectors’ Choice: Favorite Pieces of Scrimshaw
  • Collectors’ Choice: Favorite Pieces of Scrimshaw in Museums
  • Highlights of a Private Collection
  • Foster at Last!
  • Online Resources Update
  • Annual Market Report
  • Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association Report

Saturday Evening Banquet and Keynote
5:30 pm Reception (Cash Bar)
Book signing – Michael R. Harrison, Collecting Nantucket (2018)
Sign-up for the Antiques Scrimshaw Collectors Association

7 pm Banquet
8:30 pm Evening Program: What to See and Do on Nantucket by Michael R. Harrison (former Obed Macy Director of Research & Collections, Nantucket Historical Association)

Sunday, May 12  |  Optional Field Trip

6:45 am – 8:45 pm | Behind-the-scenes trip to Nantucket Historical Association

An exclusive and unique visit to the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA). Price includes bus and ferry transportation, NHA museum tour hosted by Michael Harrison, behind-the-scenes visit to scrimshaw storage at the Gosnold Center, hosted lunch, and a cocktail reception hosted by the president of the NHA.