Voyage around the world during the Golden Age of Sail when New Bedford's famed whaling fleet circled the globe to hunt the giants of the deep for whale oil to light the lamps of the world and lubricate the wheels of the Industrial Revolution. With more than 700,000 items in its collection, this 110-year old institution, which was founded by the whaling families of the greater New Bedford area, is now the world's largest and most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the history of Massachusetts' south coast region.
Travel through 200+ years of pursuit and learn about the preservation efforts of today. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Whaling Museum encompasses an entire city block overlooking historic New Bedford harbor. The Museum’s 20 galleries of maritime art and science exhibits include five complete whale skeletons and the world’s largest ship model, Lagoda, which visitors may climb aboard. Galleries include the world's largest exhibit of scrimshaw - shipboard art of the whalers. An observation deck offers the best views of New Bedford's busy working waterfront, America's #1 commercial fishing port. The Museum Theater displays films running continuously. The Museum's Research Library attracts scholars from around the world and is open by appointment.
The Museum Store offers a comprehensive inventory of books on maritime, whaling, and local history topics, as well as unique gifts related to the collection. Much of the permanent exhibits collection focuses on whaling; the museum’s roots as the Old Dartmouth Historical Society remain a vibrant part of its operations and programming. In addition to whaling, painting, furniture, and other fine and decorative arts are also featured. An extensive display of decorative and functional glass from famed local glassmakers Pairpoint and Mt. Washington Glass as well as hundreds of paintings by local artists, (both renowned masters and lesser known locals) are represented. The core exhibition “From Pursuit to Preservation: the Global Story of Whales & Whaling” invites patrons to consider the environmental, economic and social impact whaling has had on the world. Admission: $14 adult, $12 senior (65+), $9 student (19+), $6 child & youth (6-18 yrs.). Children aged 5 and under are free. Museum members are free. Group rates by appointment.