31st Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

10th Annual Nautical Antiques Show

Friday, May 10 – Sunday, May 12, 2019

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


Tickets available until May 1
Member $340  |  Non-member $395
Plus 1 Dinner Guest $75

Online: Buy Tickets Here
Call: (508) 997-0046  x100

Registration Includes: 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.


scrimshaw tooth
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.


Schedule and Events

Friday, May 10

Nautical Antiques Show
Noon – 5 pm
Early-Bird Bonus Hour 11 am – Noon
The Nautical Antiques Show kicks off this year’s Scrimshaw Weekend. The show features high-quality antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers. 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.


Friday Opening Presentation
8 pm
Scrimshaw Collected “by the Fishermen Themselves”
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

Saturday Presentations 
10 am – 6 pm

  • 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!
  • Annual Market Report
  • Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association Report

Saturday Evening Banquet and Keynote
6 pm – 10 pm
What to See and Do on Nantucket


Sunday, May 12

Optional Sunday Field Trip: Behind-the-scenes trip to Nantucket Historical Association

Tickets: $80 (separate from scrimshaw weekend tickets) 

An exclusive and unique visit to the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA). Price includes bus and ferry transportation, NHA museum tour, behind-the-scenes visit to scrimshaw storage at the Gosnold Center, lunch, and a cocktail reception hosted by the president of the NHA. Transportation will pick up and drop off at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.


Top Banner Captions: (right) Carpentry tools with commercially manufactured steel blades and lathe-turned, sailor-made handles using (L-R) bone, whale ivory, bone, blade and panbone, whale ivory, panbone. Kendall Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum. (left) Distinctive jagging wheels grace these three ivory whale ivory pie crimpers from the Frank and Annie Seabury Wood Collection, New Bedford Whaling Museum.


EXHIBITION – Scrimshaw: Shipboard Art of the Whalers
Installed in 2012, this is a sumptuous “permanent” exhibition of the best, most representative, and most compelling curiosities of our vast scrimshaw holdings. Learn more

View The White Whale gift store Scrimshaw Collection here.



The 31st Annual Scrimshaw Weekend is sponsored by

Robert C. Eldred Co.

Antiques and the Arts Weekly

The Maine Antique Digest