As mentioned before, there is a long history of whaling in this region. Back in the 70s, classes and Camp Fire Girls/Boy Scouts troupes were often visited by a whaling historian in town named Colonel Clark. He'd bring whale teeth & scrimshaw in to show us, and there was a big whale jawbone in front of his house. We were also shown films about it, I guess to instill in us a sense of pride at our rich seafaring history. I, on the other hand, was horrified by the graphic kills and carcass butchering. Hor.Ri.Fied. Blubber being cut in long strips, sailers ankle deep in blood and guts, oil being harvested out of sperm whale heads. Good god it was awful. Then finding out that they were just about hunted to extinction made me even sicker. We were taken to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in the 3rd grade, in 1973. I don't really remember much about the trip, except for my teacher pulling me aside to show me an old trunk with the last name 'Mendonca'. I remember saying to her, 'But my name has a Z' and she said, 'Yes I know, but this is the way it was spelled in Portuguese and that squiggle under the 'c' gives it the 'z' sound.' I never forgot it and from time to time over the years I thought about how cool it would be if I could find it again. Well, that would mean another trip to the Whaling Museum and I was kinda reluctant to subject myself to the gore I remember from the 1970s. I really was on the fence about going inside, but I decided to and boy am I glad I did.
When I bought my admission, I asked the woman if she knew of a trunk with the Mendonca name on it. She said she didn't offhand, but that they were moving a bunch of the trunks on exhibit into storage so she'd have to ask a docent and let me know.
Gone are the days of the gory depictions of the hunts. It's an unfortunate part of our history, and I am pleased to see that it's being given a more regretful and respectful treatment. The pictures, paintings, sculptures, etc. are quite nice to look at. Yes there were a few pictures that showed the hunting but for the most part, it was fine.
This beadwork was incredible.
I just love ship-and-iceberg pictures!
Very huge picture of downtown New Bedford in the 1800s.
The emphasis is now on conservation. This was an exhibit of how bad the garbage, plastic bits and nets are harming the fragile marine ecosystem.
The human skeleton is for scale, although I assume it's plastic whereas the whale one is real.
This was a pretty cool room....it had a small scale model of a whaling ship.
I liked how they had a photograph and then a 3D model.
Loved this crow's nest pic and model.
This was a neat sculpture too.
Wait....what's that next to the ship?