27th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

27th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend

Scrimshaw box

May 15 – 17, 2015

The Whaling Museum is the scrimshaw capital of the world, and the annual Scrimshaw Weekend is the world’s only forum devoted to the indigenous shipboard art of whalers during the “Age of Sail.” Founded in 1989, this gala event attracts enthusiasts from across the country and abroad who gather to share the enjoyment of this distinctive and beautiful art form.

Defined as the making of utilitarian and decorative objects from the hard byproducts of whaling — sperm whale ivory, walrus ivory, baleen, and skeletal bone — scrimshandering had its heyday on American and foreign whaleships in the Age of Sail, and scrimshaw-making carried over to the modern shore-whaling stations and factory-ships of the 20th century. 

The New Bedford Whaling Museum holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive scrimshaw collection, and has uniquely been hard at work examining and cataloguing scrimshaw from its own collection and from all over the world, disseminating the results.  The Scrimshaw Weekend is characterized by a wide spectrum of world-class scrimshaw, fine food, new ideas, and high camaraderie.  Calculated to come at the tail end of the popular, all-week Brimfield antiques show in May, the Weekend attracts seasoned collectors and distinguished experts as well as antiques dealers, neophyte collectors, whaling history devotees, and interested bystanders from all over the country, coast to coast.


2015 Schedule and Events

Friday, May 15

The 6th Annual Nautical Antiques Show 

Noon – 6 p.m.
Early Admission from 11 a.m. – Noon

The 6th Annual Nautical Antiques Show is an exclusive, high quality sale of marine antiques including scrimshaw, nautical instruments and tools, whaling logbooks, ship models, photos, paintings, prints, New Bedford memorabilia, and much more. Browse hundreds of antiques from some of New England’s most respected dealers. Early Admission provides first-pick opportunities for attendees and is $10. Regular Admission is $5 but is free with Museum admission and for Scrimshaw Weekend attendees and Whaling Museum members. CLICK HERE to register for the Nautical Antiques Show.

Scrimshaw Weekend’s Opening Presentation
8 p.m.

The Opening Presentation will take place on Friday evening in the Museum’s Theater.


Saturday, May 16 | 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday begins with registration and coffee followed by a full day of presentations, buffet lunch in Jacobs Family Gallery and an afternoon coffee break. The evening features a cocktail reception, banquet dinner and keynote presentation.


Sunday, May 17 | Thrilling Off-Site Fieldtrip

Location and time to be announced. Details to follow. Price of fieldtrip is not included in Scrimshaw Weekend admission.


Weekend presentations will include

  • Westport Farmer Goes a-Whaling: Non-Scrimshaw in the Fabulous Collection of Frederick Allen
  • The Accidental Bard: Insights and Sentiments of Ordinary Whalemen under Extraordinary Conditions
  • Glimpses Behind the Scrimshaw: Those pesky scrimshandering whalemen and some of the other stuff they did
  • The JFK Scrimshaw Collection: A New Deal for Collectors
  • Farthest Refuge: Visions of St. Helena, the penultimate resting place of Bonaparte, and the advent of Napoleonic Scrimshaw
  • Scrimshaw Faces and Forgeries
  • Annual Market Report Update
  • Inaugural Plenary Meeting of the Antique Scrimshaw Collectors Association


Registration Information

Members: $295.00 ($330 after May 1)

Non-Members: $335.00 ($370 after May 1) Plus 1 Dinner Guest $75.00

Click Here to register online.

Register by Mail:  Send payment to Scrimshaw Weekend, New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740. Checks should be made payable to New Bedford Whaling Museum and include Scrimshaw Weekend in the check memo.

Register by Phone: Call 508-997-0046 x100


Support for the 27th Annual Scrimshaw Weekend is provided, in part, by:

Antiques & The Arts Weekly
Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, N.H.
The Maine Antique Digest
New England Antiques Journal


Social Media: #ScrimshawWeekend

Last Modified: February 27, 2015