The Local History Guild
Join informal conversations with experts, aficionados, librarians, archivists, curators, historic preservation specialists, historians, and collectors. Topics run the gamut from commercial fishing to historic houses, to the latest acquisitions, collections, or publications. Each moderated conversation is roughly an hour long.
Each program will be recorded and will be available on the Museum's YouTube page within 4 weeks.
Free and open to the public.
This program made possible in part by:
Local History Guild with Aquinnah Wampanoag Artist Julia Marden
Tuesday, November 14th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
On Tuesday, November 14, at 6:00 PM, join us for an exciting conversation about preserving traditional Wampanoag knowledge and culture with Julia Marden, an internationally recognized Aquinnah Wampanoag artist and traditional textile and basketry maker, Loren Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, RI, and Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Community Projects, Ymelda Rivera Laxton.
The discussion centers around a significant achievement: the traditional twining of a turkey feather mantle in 2023. This 4-foot by 6-foot turkey feather mantle took Marden over a year to complete, and is the first of its kind made using traditional techniques in over 400 years. As Marden says of the project: “It’s been haunting me for 30 years and it's been a race against time to complete it. There's been a lot of pressure because none of our (original twined) mantles survived. This had to be done for our people and Wampanoag community.”
All Hands: Yankee Whaling and the U.S. Navy
Tuesday, October 10th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
At the end of August, the Museum opened a new exhibit, All Hands: Yankee Whaling and the U.S. Navy. The exhibit highlights many personal narratives, as well as much larger themes pertaining to the cross-pollination of these two sea services in the American maritime experience. Among these themes are whalemen who joined the Navy, and the Navy itself relying upon the American whaling fleet to compile hydrographic data pertaining to the winds and currents of the world’s oceans. Join moderator, and the exhibit’s curator, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Ph.D., and Robert Durwood Madison, Ph.D. about these themes, large and small, where whaling overlapped with the Navy. Both Robert and Mary K. contributed chapters to the exhibit catalog:
“A Whaleman in the Foretop: Herman Melville Joins the U.S. Navy,” by Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Professor of English and Director of Maritime Studies at the University of Connecticut.
“Matthew Fontaine Maury: Through the Paths of the Seas,” by Robert D. Madison, Professor of English, Emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.
Image Caption: Plate 7. Joseph Washington Tuck (American, 1825-1902). American Man-of-War with Shipping, 1847. Pencil and watercolor on paper. 7 ¾ x 12 ½ inches (19.6 x 31.8 cm). Tuck came from a Provincetown whaling family and worked his way up to become master on three sperm whaling voyages between 1851 and 1860. He enlisted in the Navy in 1861 and served as acting master onboard the USS Commodore McDonough and other vessels including in the South Atlantic Squadron. Tuck was a prolific illustrator of his own personal whaling journals including this illustration in his journal kept onboard the bark Parker Cook of Provincetown, Gamaliel Smith, master, 1846-1848. NBWM, Library Collection, NBW 1293.
Equine Atlantic: New England’s Horse Trade to the West Indies in the Eighteenth Century.
Wednesday, September 13th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
[Jean Baptiste Labat (1663-1738)]. Comble de Moulin, 1724. Engraving on paper. In: Nouveau voyage aux isles de l'Amérique (Paris, 1724). Cutaway interior view of a sugar mill at Martinique, French West Indies, showing enslaved persons driving teams of horses to turn the crushing rollers used to squeeze the juice out of sugar cane. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.
When Steam Ferries Connected New Bedford To The Cape And Islands Part Two
Tuesday, August 15th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for part two of “When Steam Ferries Connected New Bedford to the Cape and Islands” with the Cape Cod Maritime Museum’s Executive Director Elizabeth York, Nantucket Historical Association’s Curator Michael Harrison, Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s Research Librarian Bow Van Riper, and Local Historian Bob Demanche. This insightful discussion will highlight the art, history, and culture of public steamship transport, and will also take a brief look at the early steamboat lines operating across -- and the steam tugboats based within -- the harbor of New Bedford.
Seaweed Harvesting in the Old Dartmouth Region
Tuesday, July 11th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
Harvesting seaweed for compost, field dressing, and home insulation, was historically, and remains today a periodic, seasonal activity along the South Coast. Nineteenth century naturalists, both amateur and professional also collected, classified and exhibited beautiful specimens. The recently installed exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, A Singularly Marine & Fabulous Produce: the Cultures of Seaweed demonstrates a broad array of examples of seaweed and its uses, from practical to decorative. Join Exhibits Manager, Melanie Correia, and Photography Collection Curatorial Fellow, Marina Wells, and Curator of Maritime History, Michael Dyer for a conversation about the exhibit, its inspiration, its installation, history, and other curious details.
Join informal conversations with experts, aficionados, librarians, archivists, curators, historic preservation specialists, historians, and collectors. Topics run the gamut from commercial fishing to historic houses, to the latest acquisitions, collections, or publications. These conversations, running roughly one hour long, are moderated by Mike Dyer, Curator of Maritime History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Hometown with John Bullard
Tuesday, June 13th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with the former mayor of New Bedford, John Bullard and former editor and chief of the standard times, Ken Hartnett. Enjoy this discussion about John Bullard’s new book Hometown, where he tells the story of his commitment to New Bedford, his work in public service, and his dedication to environmental issues, community, and family.
John K. Bullard weaves a tale of a family legacy intertwined with the pitfalls and promise of New Bedford, a storied Massachusetts seaport whose past and future can be found in every small American city struggling to survive and thrive. In this deeply moving and thoughtful memoir, Bullard explores the meaning of public service, greater good, personal responsibility, and the ties that bind people to their hometowns. He grapples with immigration, economics, race, poverty, politics but also our innermost conflicts and ambitions as we make our way in the world.
Bullard’s story—and his sense of hometown—as he rises from a local to federal leader becomes more sophisticated but never loses sight of the importance of extending a helping hand and giving back to the community. It acknowledges that community is nothing without family, friends, and yes, even rivals. Hometown is about what sends you into the world to seek your fortunes and what draws you home to complete your life.
250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party
Tuesday, May 9th | 6:00 PM | Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with Evan O’Brian, the Creative Manager at the Boston Tea Party and Ship Museum, and Bruce Brunton, Emeritus Faculty at James Madison University.
This discussion will highlight the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, an event that forever changed the course of American history.
This event is a precursor to the in-person 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, scheduled for May 18 at the new Bedford Whaling Museum.
Liverpool Whaling Trade
Tuesday, April 11th I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with Simon Hill, who has been working on uncovering Liverpool’s whaling trade. This insightful discussion will highlight the impact Liverpool’s leading whaling port had on England during the 18th century.
“Unimaginable Sublimity”: Moby-Dick, Art, and Inspiration
Tuesday, March 14th I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the next Local History Guild with the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, and painters Mark Milloff, Aileen Callahan and Christopher Volpe in a discussion as they explore the power of Moby-Dick and their efforts to harness it in their own work.
Image caption: Marl Milloff, Drawn Up Towards Heaven By Invisible Wires, pastel on paper, 2002.
Virtual Local History Guild - When Steam Ferries Connected New Bedford to the Cape and Islands
Thursday, January 12 I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with Cape Cod Maritime Museum’s Executive Director Elizabeth York, Nantucket Historical Association’s Curator Michael Harrison, Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s Research Librarian Bow Van Riper, and Local Historian Bob Demanche. This insightful discussion will highlight the art, history, and culture of public steamship transport, and will also take a brief look at the early steamboat lines operating across -- and the steam tugboats based within -- the harbor of New Bedford.
Local History Guild - A Few of My Favorite Things
Thursday, December 8 I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the next Local History Guild with the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, as he moderates an insightful and traditional “show and tell” style conversation with a seasonal focus. A cross-section of collectors, curators, and enthusiasts will share their favorite historical objects in a lively and engaging discussion.
When Local History Starts a World Away: Massachusetts and the Hong Kong Connection
Thursday, November 10 I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, in a conversation with Stephen Davies, Director Emeritus of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, and Karina H. Corrigan, Associate Director of Collections and the H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, as we explore the stories behind this complex relationship of the maritime history of Massachusetts and Hong Kong. This hour-long talk will touch upon The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World, Massachusetts trade with Hong Kong, and examine Stephen’s publication, East Sails West.
Image caption: Detail from an anonymous Chinese artists’ view of Hong Kong, circa 1850. Oil on canvas. NBWM, 1983.43.3. Gift of Mercator Cooper Kendrick.
Timekeeping and clockmaking in early new england
Thursday, October 13 I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, and professional horologist, Robert (Bob) Frishman, for an insightful discussion surrounding horological tools, and timekeeping on land and sea in colonial and early Federal times. Bob Frishman has professionally repaired nearly 8,000 timepieces and sold more than 1,700 vintage clocks and watches since founding Bell-Time Clocks of Andover, MA, thirty years ago. Turn back the time as Bob shares his experiences and Horology-in-Art projects collect and examine seven centuries of fine art paintings, which include a timepiece within the scene.
Robert Frishman is a Silver Star Fellow of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and is Chairman of its Time Symposium Committee. He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, a London guild chartered in 1631. As a scholar of horology, Bob has published more than 100 articles and reviews and has presented more than 100 lectures to historical societies, service organizations, and academic groups. He recently completed the manuscript for a comprehensive biography of Edward Duffield, a Colonial Philadelphia clockmaker, to be published by the American Philosophical Society.
Captain John Kendrick: Massachusetts Pioneer Mariner to the Pacific, 1787-1794
Thursday, July 14 I 6:00 PM I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with author Scott Ridley, local Wareham historian Malcolm Phinney, and Duxbury Rural and Historical Society Librarian and Archivist Carolyn Ravenscroft, for an understanding about John Kendrick’s long and tragic fur-trading voyage to the Northwest Coast, Hawaii, China, and Japan.
Image caption: Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), et al. Chart of the Pacific Ocean : drawn from a great number of printed and ms. Journals. London: Published Octr. 1st., 1798 by A. Arrowsmith, no. 5 Charles Street, Soho Square. Engraving on paper. NBWM, 00.222.235.
MUTINY IN THE PACIFIC! THE LIFE AND EXCITING TIMES OF YANKEE WHALMAN, BENJAMIN CLOUGH
Thursday, May 11 I 6:00 PM (EST) I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation with author, historian, and whaling biographer Paul Magid, and Martha’s Vineyard Museum Research Librarian, Bow Van Riper, for a lively conversation surrounding a bona fide American whaleman hero, Benjamin Clough. Follow along as each scholar discusses the events surrounding the mutiny on the ship Sharon of Fairhaven in 1842.
Meet the Speaker
A. Bowdoin Van Riper -- "Bow" outside of formal bylines -- is research librarian at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. A historian by training, he received his BA from Brown University and his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught at colleges and universities for 21-years before moving to the Island at the end of 2011. He is the author of Edgartown, a photo-history of the Island's oldest town using images from the MV Museum's collections, and his articles on Island history appear in Martha's Vineyard Magazine and the MV Museum Quarterly. He lives in Vineyard Haven in a 19th century house where, as far as he can tell, nothing of historical significance ever happened.
Understanding Art in New Bedford: History, Sources, and Inspiration
Thursday, April 14 I 6:00 PM (EST) I Free via Zoom
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, as he hosts a conversation with a museum curator emeritus and author Mary Jean Blasdale, local artist and documentary historian Ron Fortier, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Director of Digital Initiatives, Michael Lapides, as they discuss Fortier’s Artist Index project, its inspiration, and potential applications.
The Southcoast Artists Index is a collective digital archive for the creative community of the Southcoast. The index’s primary goal is to record informative and entertaining In-Focus Podcasts featuring casual conversations with the emerging and established Visual, Performing, and Literary Artists of the Southcoast of Massachusetts. For more information on Southcoast Artists Index, visit https://theartistsindex.com/theindex/.
MARCH DISCUSSION - A CLOSER LOOK AT THE WORK OF WOMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY
Thursday, March 10 I 6:00 PM (EST) I Free via Zoom
Join the Museum’s Lighting the Way’s Project Coordinator, Cathy Saunders, the Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, and our team of docents as they explore three familiar New Bedford Whaling Museum galleries through a new lens – the work of women. Women’s work, both paid and unpaid, has always shaped history. This virtual tour will shed new light on three eras of our local history and how critical women were during those periods, while introducing women of Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast.
The virtual tour will begin in the 17th century, exploring the work of colonial English women and then head to sea to learn about the lives of “whaling wives." The tour will make its final stop with stories from the 19th and 20th century of women in the textile industry.
FEBRUARY DISCUSSION - A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Thursday, February 10 I 6:00 PM (EST) I Free via Zoom
Join the next Local History Guild with the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, as he moderates an insightful and traditional “show and tell” style conversation.
A cross-section of collectors, curators, and enthusiasts from Duxbury to Tiverton will share their favorite historical objects in a lively and engaging discussion. Featured guests include the Whaling Museum’s Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator, Naomi Slipp, and the Director of Collections, D. Jordan Berson, along with Allie Copeland, Melanie Correia, Brian Fernandes, Abigail Field, Eric Johnson, Nick Taradash, and a New Bedford Whaling Museum volunteer.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND URBAN RENEWAL
NEW BEDFORD’S CHANGING CITYSCAPE IN THE 20TH CENTURY
Thursday, December 9, 2021 | 6 PM | FREE on Zoom
Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer moderated a discussion with local historians and people who were present when the face of New Bedford changed permanently. Four distinguished panelists, William do Carmo, Esq., Jennifer Smith, Joan Henderson Beaubian, and David Kennedy, discussed New Bedford's period of urban renewal from the 1930s to1970s, drawing on scholarship, firsthand observations, and the records of the New Bedford Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade.
TWO RESTORED PAINTINGS BY CHARLES SIDNEY RALEIGH
Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 7 PM | In-person event
Jonathan Bourne Historical Center - 30 Keene Street, Bourne, MA
New Bedford Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer moderated this discussion with Ron and Tracy Lindholm of Cape Cod Picture Framing and Preservation about the recent restoration and exhibition of two massive marine paintings by local artist Charles Sidney Raleigh.
Image: Detail of a painting Sailing Day, off Palmer’s Island, New Bedford: Ship Niger, from a panel of Charles Sidney Raleigh’s Panorama of a Whaling Voyage in the Ship Niger, 1878. Oil on canvas. 75 x 135 inches. NBWM #1918.27.
Race and the Voting Block in Antebellum New Bedford
Thursday, September 9, 2021 | 6PM | Free via Zoom
We enjoyed a conversation about race, voting, and politics in nineteenth century New Bedford and America during this Local History Guild.
Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer moderated this discussion with esteemed scholars Van Gosse, author of "The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War," and David Waldstreicher, Editor of "Revolutions and Reconstructions: Black Politics in the Long Nineteenth Century."
Photo Caption: From a Pen and Ink Sketch by Elisha C. Leonard, Esq.
Thursday, August 12, 2021 | 6PM | Free via Zoom
Distinguished scholars came together for Local History Guild to discuss points of intersection between 19th century commercial whaling and the U.S. Navy. Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer moderated this discussion with local historians, authors, and antiquarian book dealers David R. Nelson and Greg Gibson. Explore mutiny, Herman Melville, Pacific explorations, and the place of New Bedford mariners in peace and war, during this free online event on AHA New Bedford night.
IMAGE: A Chart of the sea coast of Newfoundland, New Scotland, New England, New York, New Jersey, with Virginia and Maryland. London: Printed for W. and J. Mount, T. Page and son, on Tower Dash-Hill MDCCLIX [1759}
A Press for the People: Enabling Local History Access at a National Level
Thursday, July 8, 2021 | 6PM | Free via Zoom
Local historians Robert Demanche and Peggi Medeiros join Mike Kinsella of The History Press and Arcadia Publishing, for a discussion about the impacts, viability, and value to local communities of a nation-wide publisher of local history books.
New Bedford Whaling Museum Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer moderates this free, virtual Local History Guild event on AHA! New Bedford night.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
In Pursuit of History: A Conversation About a Great Americana Collection
Join editors H. Richard Dietrich III, Deborah M. Rebuke, and the museum's Curator of Maritime History and publication contributor, Michael P. Dyer, for a discussion around their newest publication, In Pursuit of History: A Lifetime Collecting Colonial Art and Artifacts.
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Sea Faring, The Underground Railroad, and Slavery in the Coastal Northeast
Join editor Timothy D. Walker, Ph.D. and author Jonathan M. Olly, Ph.D., and the museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, for a discussion around two of their newest publications, Sailing to Freedom, and Long Road to Freedom, featuring topics surrounding sea faring, the Underground Railroad, and slavery in the coastal Northeast.
Buy a copy of Sailing to Freedom here. Enjoy 30% Off & Free Shipping with code: MAS022
Thursday, March 11, 2021
“How do we trust?: Documentary photography past and present” with Peter Pereira, Photojournalist
Join internationally acclaimed photojournalist Peter Pereira, who is currently working for the New Bedford Standard-Times, the Museum’s Director of Digital Initiatives Michael Lapides, and Curator of Maritime History Michael P. Dyer, for a conversation around the history of ethics in photojournalism and the future of documentary photography in the digital age. Learn more about Peter’s work.
Photo Caption: Noonday fire at Elm and Cottage Street.” Standard-Times, April 17, 1914. A closer look reveals that this is a drycleaners, which burned probably from using the very naptha method advertised. This little-documented technique had disappeared by the mid-20th century probably because of the volatility of the cleaning agent.
February 11, 2021
“His Record Lives: William P. Randall and the Battle of Hampton Roads” with Gordon Calhoun
Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Curator of Maritime History, Michael P. Dyer, and the National Museum of the United States Navy’s historian and curator, Gordon Calhoun, as they discuss Calhoun’s recent project, “His Record Lives: William P. Randall and the Battle of Hampton Roads.” Gordon comes to this conversation with 26-years experience working for the Navy museum system, including 19-years at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. He specializes in 19th-century Naval History, the history of animals in the Navy, and U.S. Navy museum exhibits.
Photo Caption: 1862: The Battle of HR Sinking – Sinking of USS Cumberland from the Battles and Leaders series.
CANCELLED: April 9, 2020
Author Talk: Peggi Medeiros – Harriet Jacobs in New Bedford
Join local historian and author Peggi Medeiros, and archivist Carole Foster, for a discussion of Medeiros’ new book, Harriet Jacobs in New Bedford (Charleston, 2020). Using a wide variety of primary sources, Medeiros tells this gripping tale of a woman who escaped slavery in 1840, wound up in New York in 1842, and later grew to develop a deep and abiding friendship with Cornelia Grinnell Willis of New Bedford. Harriet Jacob’s story is a remarkable parallel to the life of Frederick Douglass, and a uniquely detailed look at the lives of two women of disparate backgrounds in a mid-nineteenth century seaport.
February 13, 2020
Chief Curator, Christina Connett-Brophy and Curator of Social History Akeia Benard discussed William Allen Wall’s allegorical painting, The Nativity of Truth. Michael P. Dyer moderated the discussion and read sections from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1836 essay, Nature.
Born a New Bedford Quaker Wall earned his living as a self-taught portrait painter but he sought greater themes. In this allegorical interpretation, possibly based on the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wall replaced the iconic American figure of Lady Columbia/Liberty with a similar character. Does she represent a view of American Manifest Destiny, or perhaps other ideas such as Nature as a defining good unto herself? “Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.”
Photo Caption: William Allen Wall, The Nativity of Truth, or the Spirit of the Age. Oil on canvas, circa 1849-1853.
December 12, 2019
New Bedford Whaling Museum Librarian Mark Procknik and Curator Michael Dyer displayed a “show and tell” of maritime documents from the museum’s permanent collection.
Hundreds of different types of documents from authorized Consular Certificates to receipts scribbled on scraps of paper make up the primary materials of maritime history.
Photo Caption: Paid invoice on bark Charles W. Morgan & Owners, dated San Francisco, November 26, 1901, for carpentry and repairs. KWM Loose Manuscript Collection