Purrington-Russell Panorama
Conservation Project

 Conservation Project

Official Unveiling
Thursday, October 16
Bourne Building
6:00 p.m. Reception, 7:00 p.m. Lecture
purchase tickets online

Conservation is set to begin on one of the most iconic pieces in the Whaling Museum’s collection: Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington. Please join us for the Official Unveiling of the Panorama installed on a custom conservation table designed and fabricated by blacksmith David Barrett.  On Thursday, October 16, the evening begins with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. lecture by Peter Harrington, Curator of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection in the John Hay Library at Brown University. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is part of the Old Dartmouth Lyceum lecture series. Admission for this single event is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Admission for the full lecture series is $50 for members, $75 for non-members. 
For lecture description and more information on the Old Dartmouth Lyceum Lecture Series, click here. Purchase tickets online to this single event, or the full lecture series.

Official Unveiling of the Panorama Conservation Project Flyer (pdf)


The Museum is moving forward on a long-awaited project, the conservation of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World.  One of the Museum’s iconic artifacts, the Purrington-Russell Panorama, is believed to be the longest painting in the world.  Although such a claim is difficult to prove, at 1,275 long (and eight and a half feet tall) it is a reasonable belief, particularly given that the few other surviving works of this ilk only hundreds of feet long feet are often touted as among the longest.

Support by the foot
1 foot: $250  | 5 feet: $1,000  | 30 feet: $2,500 | 60 feet: $5,000

Every foot helps

How Big is the Panorama?


Created by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington in 1848, this Panorama has been displayed in a host of venues – from a national tour when it was created to the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  It was donated to the Museum in 1918 and was displayed for many years.  However, one can easily imagine what a century and a half of rolling, unrolling, display, and light can do to deteriorate nearly a quarter-mile of painted cotton sheeting.  It has not been exhibited in its entirety for more than 50 years, and the Museum thanks Mystic Seaport for kindly storing this monstrous painting over the past year as we develop plans for its next step.

Several preliminary studies of the panorama were completed over the years, ably led by former Conservator Robert Hauser. Thanks to the generosity of the Stockman Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Whaling Museum conservation advisory team consisting of independent conservators, developed a formal treatment protocol that will clearly test and define each step of the restoration process. Conservation will begin based on this protocol, and will be directed by Museum’s Curatorial Department.  The Museum continues to seek funding for conservation of the full panorama, and this grant gets us a huge step in the right direction to again make it accessible to scholars and visitors.

Coming soon an interactive digital version of the Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World via Brown University's Touch Art Gallery (TAG).


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Last Modified: October 15, 2014