26th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

Friday, May 16th – Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Weekend kicked-off with the 5th Annual Nautical Antiques Show

Since it was first launched in 1989, the annual Scrimshaw Weekend is the world’s only regular forum where collectors, dealers, curators, folk art enthusiasts, whaling history buffs, and casual bystanders nationwide can gather to share their interests in, and insights into, the whalers’ indigenous occupational art of scrimshaw. 

Support was provided by:

Antiques & The Arts Weekly
Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, N.H.
The Maine Antique Digest

New England Antiques Journal


Scrimshaw box










2014 Schedule and Registration

Friday Afternoon

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
5th Annual Nautical Antiques Show
Browse hundreds of antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers.

Admission $5.00, free with Museum admission or membership.
See Registration information below.

Friday Evening

8:00 PM
Keynote Address – Highlights of Scrimshaw in the East India Maritine Society / Peabody Essex Museum
James Vaccarino, J.D. (Scrimshaw Forensics ® team, New Bedford Whaling Museum; and volunteer assistant to the curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum)

Saturday May 17

9:00 AM
Registration and Coffee – including scrimshaw registration

10:00 AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:15 – 11:00 AM
The Britannia Engraver and Edward Burdett
Hon. Paul E. Vardeman (retired judge and scrimshaw historian, Kansas City, Missouri)

11:00 – 11:30 AM
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: The Facts in the Case of Edward Burdett
Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D. (Scrimshaw Forensics ® team and Senior Curator Emeritus)

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
My Life In Scrimshaw
Gary Tonkin, scrimshaw artist (Albany, Western Australia)

12:15 – 1:30 PM
Buffet Lunch

1:30 – 2:15 PM
The Scrimshaw Collection of the Late Thomas Mittler
Nina Hellman (antiques dealer, Nantucket), who is currently writing a catalogue for 2015

2:15 – 3:00 PM
Curator’s Corner: Collecting Around a Theme
Stuart M. Frank, Ph.D

3:00 – 3:30 PM
Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:15 PM
Market Report 2013-14
Andrew Jacobson (antiques dealer, Ipswich, Massachusetts)

4:15 – 5:30 PM
Proposed Legislation Banning the Sale of Ivory; and the Proposal for a Scrimshaw Collectors’ Society, Association, or Guild – Panel and Discussion

5:30 – 6:00 PM
Optional Scrimshaw Retrieval
Adjourn to First Unitarian Church

Saturday Evening – May 17 – at the First Unitarian Church

6:00 PM
Cash Bar

7:30 PM

9:00 PM
“Scrimshaw Goes Hollywood” — film by Gregg Hurwitz (Encino, California)
“More About Canes” – PowerPoint by Stuart M. Frank

Sunday Morning – May 18 – at the Whaling Museum

9:30 AM
Registration and Coffee
Optional Scrimshaw Retrieval

10:30 – 11:00 AM
How To Do Pictorial Scrimshaw: Workshop 1 – Gary Tonkin, scrimshaw artist (Albany, Western Australia) (camera: Kathy Mierzwa)

11:30 AM– 12:30 PM
How To Do Pictorial Scrimshaw: Workshop 2 – Ryan Cooper, scrimshaw artist (Yarmouthport, Cape Cod) (camera: Kathy Mierzwa)

12:30 PM
Final Scrimshaw Retrieval


Registration Fees

Members: $295.00 ($330 after May 1)

Non-Members: $335.00 ($370 after May 1)

Plus 1 Dinner Guest $75.00

Nautical Antiques Show Admission $5.00
(Included with full Scrimshaw Weekend Admission and free with Museum admission or Membership)



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.  Calculated to come at the tail end of the popular, all-week Brimfield antiques show in May, the Weekend attracts 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.

Social Media: #ScrimshawWeekend

Last modified: August 26, 2016