29th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

May 12 – 14, 2017 

With over 5,000 items of scrimshaw in the collection, the Whaling Museum is the ideal venue for the annual Scrimshaw Weekend – 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.

29th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend Schedule (downloadable pdf)

Banner caption: (left) Two walrus ivory crimpers with offset wheels and tortoise shell inlay. (right) “Olivia” workbox inlaid in whale ivory, abalone, and various woods in geometric patterns, vine motifs, flags, a spread eagle with shield escutcheon, the name “OLIVIA,” and the words “FRIENDSHIP’S OFFERING.”



scrimshaw tooth
Whaling scene, ship Pacific of Nantucket
by Edward Burdett, circa 1825-28.

Schedule and Events

Friday, May 12

8th Annual Nautical Antiques Show
Noon – 5 pm
Early admission 11 am – Noon
Harbor View Gallery
Attendees browsed hundreds of antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers. Early admission provided first-pick opportunities for attendees. 8th Annual Nautical Antiques Show webpage
Free for Whaling Museum members, Nautical Antiques Show participants and Scrimshaw Weekend attendees.
An additional $5.00 was required for early admission.

Keynote presentation
8 pm
The evening featured a the keynote presentation by Stuart M. Frank: The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Scrimshaw Collection

Scrimshaw Weekend Registration | 11 am – 5 pm
Scrimshaw Weekend Opening Presentation | 8 pm


Saturday, May 13 

29th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend
Saturday began with registration and coffee followed by a full day of presentations, buffet lunch, and an afternoon coffee break.

Saturday Presentations
10 am — 5 pm

• Medicalshaw: Aspects of Medical Practice in Scrimshaw Art
• The Catalpa Scrimshaw — presented by the scrimshaw artist, Gary Tonkin
• What Whalemen Wore
• Scrimshaw in the London South Sea Whale Fishery
• The Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt
• Annual Market Report
• Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association — progress to date

The evening featured a cocktail reception, banquet dinner and book signing.

Reception / Cash Bar / Book Signing
5:45 pm

Book signing
The Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt — Michael P. Dyer
Around the World in Search of Whales. A Journal of the Lucy Ann Voyage 1841-1844 — Kenneth R. Martin
American Offshore Whaling Voyages (2 vols.) — Judith N. Lund
Classic Whaling Prints — Stuart M. Frank
Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved — Stuart M. Frank

6:30 pm

Scrimshaw in Tasmania
Colin S. Thomas (Collector, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia); author of Scrimshaw. The Ancient Art of the Mariner
8:30 pm


Sunday, May 14 

Sunday Field trip to Cape Cod
9 am – 5:30 pm

Morning: Eldred’s Auction Gallery
Lunch: Swan River Restaurant
Afternoon: National Seashore Museum


Museum members: $315  |  Non-members: $370
Plus 1 dinner guest $75

Sunday Field Trip: $75
Field trip price was inclusive of round-trip transportation, lunch, and admission fees. The off-site tour price was not included in Scrimshaw Weekend registration.

Full scholarships were available to university-level students, supported by the generosity of Robert C. Eldred Co., Northeast Auctions, and Skinner, Inc.


The 29th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend is sponsored by

Antiques and the Arts Weekly
Robert C. Eldred Co.
The Maine Antique Digest
Northeast Auctions

Skinner Auctioneers logo

Last modified: May 16, 2017