The Wider World & Scrimshaw - New Bedford Whaling Museum


Tuesday, March 28, 2023 |  10:00am -5:00pm

Program of Events

9:30am – public registration & light refreshment, Jacobs Family Gallery
10:00am – Welcoming Remarks, Amanda McMullen, New Bedford Whaling Museum

10:15am-12:00pm, Panel I
The Space of the Oceans and Museums
-Scrimshaw and the Wider World Exhibition Presentation, Naomi Slipp & Michael Dyer
-Courtney M. Leonard, Assistant Professor of Art and Art History, St. Olaf College
-Marina Wells, PhD Candidate, American and New England Studies, Boston University
-Michael R. Harrison, Chief Curator and Obed Macy Research Chair, Nantucket Historical Association
-Audience and Panelist Q+A

12:00-1:00pm Lunch Break | suggestions provided

1:00-2:45pm, Panel II
The Pacific Islands and Oceania
-Maggie Cao, David G. Frey Associate Professor of Art History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
-Jennifer J. Wagelie, Academic Liaison, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis
-Sienna Weldon, MA Candidate, Art History, University of California, Davis
-alejandro t. acierto, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, Arizona State University
-Audience and panelist Q+A

2:45-3:15pm Coffee Break

3:15-5:00pm, Panel III
The Global Arctic and Pacific Northwest
-Igor Krupnik, Cultural Anthropologist and Curator of Arctic and Northern Ethnology Collections, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institutions
-Bart Pushaw, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Copenhagen
-Stephen Loring, Archeologist (Arctic Studies Center), National Museum of Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Institutions
-Emily Jean Leischner, PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
-Audience and Panelist Q+A

5:00pm, Closing remarks, Naomi Slipp, New Bedford Whaling Museum

The Wider World & Scrimshaw

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 |  10:00am -5:00pm
Offered in-person: Cook Memorial Theater, New Bedford Whaling Museum, and virtually (via zoom)
Registration required, $10 members | $15 for non-members

Join us for a day-long symposium, where renowned and emerging scholars explore the global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim that were influenced by, sat in conversation with, and had an influence on “Yankee” whaling scrimshaw. The day celebrates international maritime material culture, explores a dynamic global narrative, and dives deep into the Whaling Museum’s Indigenous collections from Oceania, the Pacific Northwest, and Global Arctic.

left to right: NBWM Sperm whale tooth carved by an Australian Aboriginal maker in traditional Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime style, with a Polynesian proa and boomerang in flight, NBWM. | One of a pair of salt and pepper shakers carved from animal bone and engraved with a Northwest Coast totem pole and dwelling as souvenir art, possibly by Native hands in Alaska or British Columbia, NBWM | A half-round souvenir replica of a Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw pole from Southeast Alaska. Often hand-carved by non-Native artisans near Seattle, WA for the Hudson Bay Fur Co., who employed Chinese and Japanese immigrants; this unusual example is on hippopotamus tooth,
left to right: Haida carved argillite pipe, c. 1880, possibly made by Charles Edenshaw (c. 1839-1920), NBWM | Lei niho palaoa, c. 1820, made from sperm whale ivory and human hair and worn by Hawai’ian men and women of chiefly rank (called ali'i), NBWM | Fijian Kinikini or Culacula, a paddle-like hardwood club or shield completely covered with intricate incising and carved pattern, NBWM
ABOVE, top to bottom: “John Gibbs” busk incised with representational imagery onto baleen, c. 1850, NBWM
BELOW, left to right: Marshall Islands stick chart, Rebbelib type, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. | Austral Islands leaf-shaped paddle with detailed carving over entire surface, c. 1825, NBWM | Chip carved elongated oval wooden busk decorated with geometric motifs, c. 1840s, NBWM.
left to right: Walrus tusk with hole drilled through tip and entirely covered with carving in low relief with elaborate floral motifs, c. 1870, NBWM | Iñupiat engraved walrus tusk showing traditional hunter’s “diary” imagery, c. 1850, | Angokwazhuk (“Happy Jack”) (c. 1870-1918), Large walrus tusk cribbage board with monochrome engraving on both sides, 1908, NBWM | Billy Komonaseok, Large walrus tusk cribbage board with monochrome engraving on both sides, c. 1910, NBWM.
left to right: William Alexander, “Village of the Friendly Indians at the entrance of Bute's Canal” from Captain George Vancouver's account of his 1790-1795 Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World (London: John Stockdale, 1798), NBWM | Tapa Cloth (Hiapo), from Niue, c. 1880, 68 x 88 inches, NBWM.

This program is generously supported by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, with additional contributions from individual donors.

The Terra Foundation for American Art, established in 1978 and having offices in Chicago and Paris, supports organizations and individuals locally and globally with the aim of fostering intercultural dialogues and encouraging transformative practices that expand narratives of American art, through the foundation’s grant program, collection, and initiatives. Learn more at