Local History Guild Past Programs - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Local History Guild Past Programs

Local History Guild conversations at the Museum on AHA! night.

Local History Guild Past Programs

Moderated by Michael P. Dyer, Curator of Maritime History, unless noted otherwise.

Upcoming Local History Guild Programs can be viewed here.


November 14, 2019 Teaching the Freed People: Reading the Diary of Ellen Kempton
Ivy MacMahon and Lee Blake of the New Bedford Historical Society discussed and shared the found diary of Ellen Kempton, an abolitionist who traveled South to teach after the Civil War.

October 10, 2019 The Complex Histories of the Women of the South Coast
Ann O’Leary, librarian at Bishop Stang High School, New Bedford, and Emily Bourne Research Fellow at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, discussed her research and writing. Christina Turner, Director of Education at the Whaling Museum also took part in the conversation.

September 12, 2019 The History of Public Music in New Bedford
A conversation concerning the history of public patronage, the aspirations of public education, and the history of public cultural and educational development in New Bedford with Dave Prentiss, President of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and Lynn Souza, New Bedford Public Schools’ Director of Fine Arts.

August 8, 2019 The Public Face of Regional History
A conversation with New Bedford City Preservation Planner Anne Louro and New Bedford Whaling Museum Director of Digital Initiatives Michael Lapides.

July 11, 2019
Lecture & Book Signing: Under Sun, Stars and Sails – A Whaling Family’s Life at Sea by Marsha Hall Brown & Tom Hall
Marsha Hall Brown, author of the new book Under Sun, Stars and Sails – A Whaling Family’s Life at Sea addressed the interpersonal relationships between Captain Joseph Marshall, his wife Malvina Pinkham Marshall and their little daughter Helen. The extraordinary narrative of the Marshall family of Nantucket who left New Bedford on their whaling voyages to the Pacific was discussed by Tom Hall as a secular parable whose broader historical context reaches back to the preliminary clashes of the Revolutionary War and forward to unsettling portents of a threatening future.

July 11, 2019
Lives in the Wake of Whaling Masters
A conversation with author Anthony J. Connors about his new book Went to the Devil: A Yankee Whaler in the Slave Trade (Amherst, 2019).

June 13, 2019
Attendees joined local historian Rev. John Douhan of South Dartmouth for a pictorial overview and discussion of the history of the Baptist faith in southern New England.

April 11, 2019 Historical Perspectives on Religion and Society in the Old Dartmouth Region
A conversation with the Reverend Pamela Cole, Instructor in Humanities and History at Bristol Community College, and the Reverend Doctor John Douhan, Baptist historian.

March 14, 2019 A conversation on the life and legacy of Captain Paul Cuffe
A discussion of the many important features to Cuffe’s life and legacy, his past and present significance to the community, and what that legacy may mean in years to come, with local historian and Cuffe family descendant Lee Blake, and NBWM Curator of Social History, Akeia Benard, Ph.D.


December 13, 2018 What’s in Your Postcards? Art, History, and Architecture in Public Pictorial Formats
A discussion of New Bedford and Dartmouth postcards with local authors, collectors, and historians, Judith N. Lund and David R. Nelson.

November 8, 2018
Off-site Location: Fort Taber Military Museum
Host Michael P. Dyer talked with Joe Langlois, President of the Military Museum and Ray L’Heureux, Vice President, about the mission of the Military Museum, its collections, and other features of interest surrounding the site of Fort Taber.

October 11, 2018 Historic Houses: Techniques, Ideas, and Goals for their Interpretation
The speakers were the Executive Director of the Rotch-Jones-Duff House, Dawn Estabrooks Salerno, and the Curator of Art from the New Bedford Free Public Library, Janice Hodson.

September 13, 2018 The National Park Service and its Local Communities
A conversation with colleagues from the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Janine V. da Silva, Acting Chief of Interpretation & Education/Cultural Resource Specialist, and Andrew Schnetzer, Supervisory Ranger focused generally on the Park Service and its role in local history, and specifically, interpretive strategies that the Park Service engages in New Bedford.

August 9, 2018
New Bedford: How Art and Collaboration Can Change a City
A conversation with Milton Brightman, whose paintings and drawings are on exhibit in Into Infinity at the Museum, and sculptor and wood carver Chuck Hauck, former president of Gallery X in New Bedford. The discussion examined how artists perceive and interpret regional history.

June 14, 2018 Local Fishermen: Their Lives and Legacies
Michael P. Dyer sat down with New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center Director Laura Orleans, and Fairhaven’s Millicent Library Archivist Debbie Charpentier, to talk over the important work that Debbie has done to increase public awareness and access to the legacies of local fishermen, and Laura Orlean’s important work at the Fishing Heritage Center.

May 10, 2018 Historic House Stories: A Conversation about People and their Dwellings in New Bedford and Fairhaven
Beth Luey, historian and author of House Stories: The Meanings of Home in a New England Town (Amherst, 2017) from Fairhaven, and Mark Fuller, President of the New Bedford Preservation Society, conversed about historical architecture, the stories that can be generated and understood from the systematic study of house histories, and the importance of historic preservation.

April 12, 2018 The Life and Times of Daniel Ricketson (1813-1898), Author, Intellectual, and New Bedford’s Transcendentalist Roamer of Rural Byways
Host Michael Dyer sat down with local historians Bob Maker and Carl Simmons. They delved into the complex personality of one of the city’s most unusual minds. Ricketson wrote the first history of New Bedford in 1858. He was a naturalist, a lover of birds, plants, trees, and wild landscapes. He was a devout family man. He was a poet and music lover. He was friends with Henry David Thoreau and corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson.

March 8, 2018 Common Lives in the Coastal Region: Interpretive Patterns for Historical Societies
Marjorie O’Toole, Director of the Little Compton Historical Society and Jeffrey Miller, Ph.D. Director and Curator of the Mattapoisett Historical Society discussed “Common Lives in the Coastal Region: Interpretive Patterns for Historical Societies.”

February 8, 2018 The Westport and Dartmouth Milieu in the Age of  Paul Cuffe
A conversation with Robert Harding, Ph.D. from the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society and Richard Gifford, an independent scholar from Westport.