The most picturesque tour stop while following the first three concerts of the Weird Al Yankovic Tour 2022 in April 2022 has definitely been New Bedford. The harbor town in Southern Massachusetts has a lovely historic district. In its heart, it features the New Bedford Whaling Museum, illustrating the whaling history in the area, but also taking a global view here and there. Here is a review of my visit on the fifth day of the trip.
New Bedford Whaling Museum- Location & Admission
The museum is located right in the heart of the Historic District located close to the harbor area. Thus, the closest transport options are ferries to Cuttyhunk and Nantucket. The area also features short-term and long-term parking, though. The closest one is likely the Elm Street Parking Garage North of the museum, which has a daily parking rate of 12 USD.
The museum is opening daily from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs. Adult admission is 19 USD.
New Bedford Whaling Museum – The Visit
The museum is having three levels, two of them are in fact fully used. The upper level just has a few facilities. I started my visit with an introductory movie in the theater, before visiting the first part, which introduces you to one of the two main parties in featured in this museum: whales. It is – of course – not a wide overview over the species like you got in Whales Of Iceland or the German Waloseum, but they do a great job illustrating different species and the vast size of the animals majorly hunted in the area. A life-size model of a whale’s heart and whale skeletons mounted on the museum’s ceiling are just to eye-catching exhibits worth mentioning.
Even though there is another skeleton in one of the first pictures below, the remaining museum majorly deals with the other protagonist: men. One of the first sections I visited was about methods of whaling, starting with different boats. The key exhibit here is the Lagoda, a half-scale model of a whaling ship. You can even get onboard – and even though some spots are a bit of narrow due to the scaling, it is a very memorable experience. The museum claims that this is the largest ship scale model worldwide.
Whaling Business, Whaling People
It is very hard to list all aspects of whaling displayed in the museum. The key focus is of course a regional one. Thus, you learn which have been the key people in the local industry and how they drove their business. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is very illustrative, featuring a wide range of original exhibits. I especially enjoyed to learn where the people have been recruited from. There have been Hawaiian people in the whaling industry as well as people from the Azores, both hired due to their navigational skills. For that reason, there is still a rather significant Portuguese community in the area.
The museum does not feel to be really huge from outside, but they do a great job in making use of the space they got. Thus, you also learn about whaling life and whaling culture. There are paintings, but also decorative pieces of art made of whale bones. In another part of the museum they show you how people lived during the big whaling times.
Last, bt not least, the upper level also features a small terrace, which allows to to have a lovely view over the harbor of New Bedford.
New Bedford Whaling Museum – Services
The staff was really friendly and helpful. hey were quite interested in the Weird Al show that evening. The museum features a nice gift shop.
New Bedford Whaling Museum – My View
To make it short: this one is an awesome place. You get a huge load of information – and even though the admission feels to be rather high, it is finally absolutely worth it. From a nowadays perspective, I would if they were also featuring more critical and environmental issues of whaling. If you are around, this museum is definitely worth a stop on your New England trip.
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