New Bedford Whaling Museum Offers a Whale of a Good Time
Quite the view at the New Bedford Whaling Museum!
by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/20/16
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If you're looking for a museum that doesn't quite swim with
the rest of the pack, then plan on anchoring your day at the New
Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass.
Located in the heart of the U.S. National Park Service's 13-block
Whaling District -- with cobblestone streets, old sea captain homes,
historic brick buildings and many fine shops and restaurants -- the
Whaling Museum voyages far beyond just a bunch of whale skeletons and
hunting boats. As the largest museum of its kind in the world, the
modern-looking Whaling Museum celebrates, and educates visitors on, the
glory days of New Bedford's world-renowned whaling industry and its
greatest port. At one time in the mid-1800s, New Bedford was considered
one of the richest cities in the world, given whale oil was
yesteryear's petroleum! Additionally, Herman Melville, working as a
whaler in New Bedford, wrote the famous classic novel Moby Dick
(published in 1851), thus putting New Bedford "on the map" even more.
The Whaling Museum features opportunities to hop aboard a half-scale
whaling boat and full-size forecastle (the forward section of a vessel
reserved for the crew's quarters), browse art, artifacts, and
manuscripts, view skeletons (Kobo the mammoth 66-foot blue whale is
amazing!), shop at a nice little "whaling-oriented" gift shop, and
create scrimshaw designs at the arts and crafts area. While each
exhibition and activity has tremendous entertaining and educational
value, the most outstanding aspect of the Whaling Museum is how the
staff brings all the attractions to life. The extremely knowledgeable
guides really seem to enjoy their jobs, combining an impressive array
of knowledge with a desire to educate children and adults, alike. The
staff we intereacted with were kind in nature and in no rush to move
onto the next group -- quite impressive, given the crowds there, that
day. It's almost as if the guides were world-class experts on the New
Bedford whaling days. You could almost picture any one of these
staffers appearing as an expert on a television or movie documentary on
It's quite rare to tour a museum that has all its "oars in the water"
-- interesting attractions, a welcoming not-stuffy learning
environment, a modern but comfortable open layout plan, and a
dedicated, expert staff. This is truly a "killer" whale museum, making
the most of its storied subject matter by tapping into the "who, where,
what, when, why and how," in a most informative and entertaining way.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA, 02740
Web site: www.whalingmuseum.org
Book a room in
New Bedford and get a great rate
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