New Bedford Whaling Museum

Yesterday, my son's fourth grade class took a field trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts. There are several impressive exhibits. The first you notice upon entering is the baleen whale skeletons hanging from the ceiling. (Yes, they're real!)
This one's a fetus.

There's also a toothed whale:

The first part of our visit was a session that looked at food webs and food chains, specifically those that include baleen whales and toothed whales.

My son's favorite session (mine, too) was in the afternoon. We explored the different cultures whalers encountered during their 3 to 5 year whaling trips. Various students were called up to try on traditional clothing from the people the whalers met, such as people from the Azores, Cape Verde, and Hawaii. The students recorded their journey on a world map. Here's my son trying on a coat like the inuit/inupiak of Alaska wore.
And here are their "sunglasses." The sunlight on a snow covered landscape can be blinding. The slits limit the amount of sunlight let in.
 We then toured specific parts of the museum. Our first stop was a life-sized model of whaling ship sleeping quarters. Students were able to lie down in a bunk while our docent described life on a whaling ship. (Unfortunately, it was too dark to get a good photo). We agreed that their lives seemed hard and tedious.

We also toured exhibits of various artifacts from the cultures whalers encountered. The grand finale of our tour was a model of an actual ship that sailed out of New Bedford. The model is 50% the size of the original. We were able to climb on board and have a tour.

If you live or vacation in our area, I highly recommend you visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

What great museums or cultural spots are in your area? Please share them in comments so other Polliwog readers can visit.

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