Museum Guide - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Museum Guide

Free to download. Your gateway to exhibition highlights and themes.

Museum Guide

Plan your visit using the Museum's Visitors Guide (also available in Chinese, French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish).

We're excited to introduce you to our new Museum guide app, powered by Bloomberg Connects, available in over 30 languages. This app is your gateway to the Museum's highlights and incredible stories, all at your fingertips. Best of all, it's free to download in both the Apple and Android stores. With our app you can seamlessly embark on a highlights tour, hear expert insights, and view Museum artifacts. For those who are unable to download the app we have provided the audio portion of the highlight tour below.


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#1 The Old Dartmouth Historical Society


Founded as the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in 1903, the New Bedford Whaling Museum focuses its collecting, programs, and exhibitions on history, culture, science, and art.

Hear from Naomi Slipp, Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator & Director of Museum Learning

#2 Whales Today


Whales Today provides an introduction to whale biology and whale conservation, exploring the current threats to whales and educating visitors about the size, habitat, anatomy, and behaviors of these magnificent marine mammals.

Hear from Robert Rocha, Associate Curator of Science and Research

#3 Harboring Hope: Settlement


The exploration and colonial settlement of the Southcoast of Massachusetts started in 1602. Land and natural resource incursions by colonists caused conflicts with local Native American tribes, who fought to maintain their way of life and sovereignty over native lands.

Hear from Victoria Hughes, Associate Director of Museum Learning

#4 Harboring Hope: Regional History


Religion, geography, and maritime commerce powerfully influenced colonial growth and the ultimate success of the port of New Bedford.

Hear from Jan da Silva, Program Manager of Visitor Experience and Community Engagement at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

#5 Captain Paul Cuffe


An exhibition devoted to the life, times, and legacy of Captain Paul Cuffe–an abolitionist, entrepreneur, merchant, whaler, navigator and much more.

Hear from Carl Cruz, former board member, and Cuffe descendent

#6 Lagoda


Explore the Lagoda, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s half-scale model of the whaling bark, built inside the Bourne Building in 1915-16. Learn about a whaling voyage from start to finish, from the business of whaling to the crew, and what happened on shipboard and at the docks.

Hear from Mike Dyer, Curator of Maritime History

#7 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World


Explore how every-day Americans learned about whales and whaling through popular entertainment, traveling exhibits, worlds fairs, and visual culture.

Hear from Jessica Routhier, Managing Editor of Panorama, the Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art

#8 Voyage Around the World: Azores and Cape Verde


Most whaling voyages from New Bedford stopped in the Portuguese Atlantic Islands of the Azores and Cape Verde. Captains outfitted their vessels with supplies and crew for the long voyage ahead. This encouraged waves of immigration to New Bedford, where these distinctive cultures continue to have a strong presence in the region.

Hear from Akeia de Barros Gomes, Senior Curator of Maritime Social Histories at Mystic Seaport Museum

#9 Voyage around the World: Pacific Northwest & Oceania


New Bedford’s port linked the region to places across the globe, from Oceania to the Arctic. Explore items from different cultures around the Pacific and learn about these diverse communities and their maritime traditions.

Hear from Ymelda Rivera Laxton, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Community projects

#10 Cultures of Whaling


Learn how geography, environment and culture contributed to the development of different whaling traditions around the globe, from subsistence whaling in the Arctic to commercial whaling in the Soviet Union and New Bedford.

Hear from Michael Moore, scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

#11 Scrimshaw


The New Bedford Whaling Museum has the largest collection of scrimshaw in the world. Learn about what scrimshaw is, what it is made from, and why it was made.

Hear from Marina Wells, Photography Collection Curatorial Fellow

#12 Energy & Enterprise


Energy and Enterprise: Industry and the City of New Bedford tells the story of New Bedford’s evolution from a whaling port to a manufacturing center.

Hear from Steve Lubar, George L. Littlefield Professor of American History at Brown University

This project, produced by the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Department of Digital Engagement, has been made possible through the generous support of Nancy and Jack Braitmayer.

Special thanks to our friends at WJFD.