The New Bedford Whaling Museum explores and interprets the unique historical relationship between the Southcoast region of Massachusetts and the sea, beginning with the original Native American inhabitants and continuing through the panorama of the region's unique and special history. The Museum offers innovative exhibitions, public education programs, and cultural programming to bring history, science and culture alive for approximately 100,000 local, national and international visitors annually.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum's mission is to educate and interest all the public in the historic interaction of humans with whales worldwide; in the history of Old Dartmouth and adjacent communities; and in regional maritime activities. The Old Dartmouth Historical Society was founded in 1903, and four years later the Society opened the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Now in its 111th year, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the cultural history of the region. The Museum has approximately 750,000 objects in its collection, including five whale skeletons, the world's largest model ship (visitors are invited to climb aboard), and the world's largest collection of scrimshaw.