Old Dartmouth Lyceum

2014 Whaling Museum Lecture Series

Established in 1828, the Old Dartmouth Lyceum is the region’s oldest public forum for “the advancement of popular education.” The 2014  lecture series focused on major upcoming projects at the Whaling Museum. Each evening of the four-part lecture series began with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. lecture. The series fees were $15 per lecture (non-members, $20) and  $50 for the series (non-members, $75).
Old Dartmouth Lyceum 2014 Fall lecture Series Mailer (pdf)

Descriptions of 2014 Lectures


A 'Moving' Experience: The 19th Century Panoramas at New Bedford, Providence and Saco

Peter Harrington is Curator of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection in the John Hay Library at Brown University, where he has worked for more than 30 years. His research focuses on artists and images of war and he teaches a distance learning graduate course on the subject. He is the author of several books including British Artists and War: The face of battle in paintings and prints 1700-1914, Queen Victoria’s Army in Color: The Military Paintings of Orlando Norie, The Castles of Henry VIII, and English Civil War Archaeology. His latest book, William Simpson’s Afghanistan: Travels of a Special Artist and Antiquarian during the Second Afghan War, 1878-1879, will be published in December.

His lecture explored the popular media phenomena of panoramas during the 19th century, the variant 'moving' panoramas, and an exploration of the three extant pieces from New England collections depicting (1) The Life and Campaigns of Garibaldi, owned by Brown University; (2) A Pilgrim's Progress, at the Saco Museum; and (3) the Whaling Voyage around the World at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.



“A Haven for Art Lovers”: The New Bedford Free Public Library Art Collection

When the New Bedford Free Public Library opened the doors of its new building in 1857, along with admiration for its architectural splendor and modern arrangement of books came praise for its display of paintings.  At a time when New Bedford was one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the nation, artists had found a ready market in the whaling merchant’s desire for a portrait or the textile mill owner’s need for a landscape to hang in his parlor.  The chosen repository for many of the pieces owned by these local nineteenth century collectors was the public library.  This presentation will highlight the range of works in the library’s collection, from Audubon to Fasanella.

Janice Hodson has been Curator of Art at the New Bedford Free Public Library since 2008.  She has worked as a curator and collections manager at museums and historic sites for over 25 years, most recently as Chief Curator of Longfellow National Historic Site and a researcher for Historic New England.


Seth Rainville working on ceramic object

Of Earth and Sea – A Call to Respond

In 1984 the National Ceramics Conference (NCECA) came to Boston and a new dialog emerged for area potters and ceramic artists to heighten their craft.  Years later we find a foundation of ceramic art educators and makers that have solidified one of the nation’s richest traditions in clay. In 2015 the conference returns to New England and will be hosted by the city of Providence. This was the catalyst for Curator Christina Connett to organize an aptly titled, world class exhibition to open at the Whaling Museum Spring 2015. Of Earth and Sea will feature eight of the nation’s leading ceramicists who will respond to the Whaling Museum’s vast collection by contemporary works to display.

Seth Rainville is one of the ceramic artists to be featured in the upcoming exhibition and will spend close to a year researching the objects in the Whaling Museum’s collection to create his contemporary masterworks for the exhibition. His presentation included an overview of the exhibition and its eight artists. He also discussed his creative process for crafting new works in porcelain and found materials.

Seth is a professional potter from Dartmouth, Mass.  His signature “Ink-ware” incorporates narrative imagery with porcelain vessels as canvas.  His work can be seen in public and private collections across the globe.


Whale Science – a Local Acoustic Legacy

Laela Sayigh, PhD, is a Research Specialist in Biology at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Michael Moore, PhD, is a Senior Research Specialist in Biology and Director of the Marine Mammal Center at WHOI. Their tag team talk described the evolution of scientific interest in whales from natural history to conservation of the whaling industry including whale behavior, acoustics, neurobiology and conservation. Their presentation highlighted a recent acquisition by the Whaling Museum of a marine mammal acoustics archive collected by William Schevill and William Watkins of WHOI.


The Old Dartmouth Lyceum 2014 was sponsored, in part, by Allan Smith CPA.

Last modified: September 27, 2012