- Family Activities
- Community Programs
- Old Dartmouth Lyceum
- Ellis Antique Show
- Haunted Whale Ship
- Around the World and Back Again Reception
- Chairman's Awards Celebration
- New Year's Eve Bash
- Moby-Dick Marathon
- Watkins Bioacoustics Symposium
- Annual Events
- Charles W. Morgan Visit
- Sailors' Series
- Whaling History Symposium
- Scrimshaw Weekend
- Fado from Portugal
- 20 Feet From Stardom
- Past Programs
January 4th-5th, 2014
The Moby-Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world’s best known readathon of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. It is a nonstop reading commemorating the anniversary of the departure of the ship Acushnet from the whaling port of New Bedford with 21-year-old Herman Melville aboard.
Our 18th Moby-Dick Marathon was the longest continually running readathon of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece.
Sponsored by Empire Loan and Rockland Trust
2011 Moby-Dick Marathon in progress
Every year, early in January, a local celebrity figure traditionally kicks-off the reading, beginning with the most famous opening line in American literature, "Call me Ishmael." From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, more than 150 readers each will have read a short passage from this novel. Some will have read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and/or French, followed by that same passage in English. One passage will have been read from Braille. The Seamen’s Bethel will have hosted the singing of “The Ribs and Terrors in the Whale” and the reading of Father Mapple’s sermon. At the end, a few hardy souls will have stayed for the whole adventure.
Readers will include professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, students, congressmen, mayors, city councillors, journalists, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick.
Click here to download the Moby-Dick 2014 Poster (PDF)
Livestreaming of the event was provided throughout the weekend for those who could not make it to New Bedford. To view on Smartphones and tablets, a downloadable free livestream app is available. Use #MDM18 in all social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest.
UPDATE: The New Bedford Whaling Museum was closed Friday, January 3 due to the snow forecast. The Moby-Dick Marathon continued, January 4-5 as scheduled with the following updates:
CANCELED – Friday, January 3rd dinner was canceled. Ticketholders were reimbursed.
POSTPONED – “Martin and Moby” exhibit opening of works by Mattapoisett artist Peter Michael Martin was postponed to Sunday, January 5 at 1:00 p.m. immediately following the marathon.
Saturday, January 4
10:00 a.m. – "Stump the Scholars", Cook Memorial Theater
11:30 a.m. – Moby-Dick “Extracts,” read by the Melville Society, Bourne Building
11:50 a.m. – Welcome, James Russell, President and CEO
12:00 p.m. – Moby-Dick Marathon reading begins, Bourne Building
1:30 p.m. – Chapters 7-9 in the Seamen’s Bethel
2:30 p.m. – Marathon continues in the Jacobs Family Gallery
2:00-3:00 p.m. – Chat with Melville scholars, Wattles Family Gallery
4:00-5:30 p.m. – Chat with Melville artist Peter Michael Martin, Centre Street Gallery
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Conversation with Melville artist Vanessa Hodgkinson, Wattles Gallery
7:00 p.m. – Chapters 35-40 “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park
8:00 p.m. – Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery
Sunday, January 5
9:30-11:00 a.m. – Chat with Melville scholars, Wattles Family Gallery
10:00-11:30 a.m. – Chat with Melville artist Peter Michael Martin, Centre Street Gallery
1:00 p.m. – Marathon finale
1:00 p.m. – Exhibit opening Martin & Moby, Centre Street Gallery
Marathon Reading Timetable: Approximate Time, Page and Chapter in the book for each Watch (based on notes from 2008). Click here for the Reading Timetable.
In addition to the nonstop reading, additional activities that weekend included ongoing related exhibitions in the Museum and Research Library.
The public was cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay awake for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.
Refreshments were available for sale throughout the marathon.
Admission for the entire event was free.
DONATIONS: Please help us preserve this important community event by making your donation today.
Was there a real Moby Dick?
Link to the Moby-Dick Marathon 2013 page
Flickr slideshow of the Moby-Dick Marathon in 2011 #MDM15
Thank you to Empire Loan Charitable Foundation and Rockland Trust for sponsoring this year's event.