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Women in fisheries science

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SMAST News

School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) (November 18, 2021)

As part of their Women Work project, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center’s “Then and Now” panel discussion features pioneering scientists & SMAST students who share their experiences as women in the field of fisheries science.

Aubrey Church NBFC Then and Now panelist
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center’s “Women in Fisheries Science – Then and Now” event took place on November 11, 2021. (Pictured: Aubrey Church).

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center recently hosted “Women in Fisheries Science – Then and Now,” a dialog featuring a panel of five women who discussed their experiences working in the field of fisheries science.

Panelists included trailblazing scientists Linda Depres, who began her career in the late 1960s and later served as the first female chief scientist on a groundfish survey at NOAA, and Pat Gerrior, New Bedford’s first female port agent. Both women discussed the rewards and complexities of working in a male-dominated environment during the start of their careers.

Students Alison Frey, Aubrey Ellertson Church, and Patricia Perez also served as panelists and shared their inspiration behind pursuing careers in fisheries science and the benefits of choosing to earn their advanced degrees at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST). All of the panelists are also featured in the Center’s Women’s Work exhibit. 

The discussion, originally recorded as part of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center’s Women’s Work project, was moderated by Laura Orleans, executive director of the Center. Watch the video.

Working Women: Davis’ Photos Of Women In Fishing Industry Included In New Bedford Exhibit

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The Cape Cod Chronicle

Doreen Legett (October 6, 2021)

 Karen Johnson on the flats.  SHAREEN DAVIS PHOTO (photo: Shareen Davis )

Karen Johnson on the flats.  SHAREEN DAVIS PHOTO

Peggi Joseph, long dark hair tied in a ponytail, blue sweatshirt and matching rubber gloves peeking out of orange Grundens, makes quick work of packing thousands of pounds of haddock. 

Her image was captured by photographer Shareen Davis at Stage Harbor as Joseph moved hefty haddock into totes beside a bin of ice.

Joseph seems unaware of the camera. Davis catches her intent on doing a job she loves.

The picture is part of a new exhibit, “Women’s Work: At Sea, On Shore, At Home, In the Community,” at the New Bedford Heritage Museum, designed to shine light on many roles women play in commercial fishing communities.

Laura Orleans, director of the museum, said she has been thinking of putting together the exhibit ever since she realized that not enough people know “women are involved in every aspect of the fishing industry, and have been historically involved, it’s not just a new thing.”

Visitors meet women who work on deck as fishermen and scientists, on shore as welders, processors and gear makers, who own businesses and boats, who advocate on behalf of the fishing industry. And they will hear about the value and importance of the industry; more than 60 photos are accompanied by oral histories. 

A caption with Joseph’s image lets viewers know she was packing 3,500 pounds of fish for auction in the dead of winter and wore sneakers instead of boots for better traction. 

“I like being outside and hands-on and as soon as I could leave retail I did. A fisherman at the dock once asked me, you’re not gonna pack out that boat by yourself, are you? I said, yup, just watch me,” reads the caption.  

The exhibit, which is up until March, explores topics ranging from “What Do You Call a Woman Who Fishes?” to “Women in Myths and Marketing.”

A section on pioneers covers historic figures such as Fish Mary (Mary Stanley), a lumper on the New Bedford docks in the 1960s and Linda Despres, the first female chief scientist on bottom trawl surveys in 1975 with the Northeast Science Center in Woods Hole.

The exhibit covers fishing communities in Rhode Island and Maine as well as Massachusetts, with images from Markham Starr and Phillip Mello as well as Davis.

Davis’ contributions include shellfishermen Karen Johnson, Sandra Liska and Coralie Peltier; the late Rosemarie Denn, who owned Cape Fishermen Supply with her husband Bob; Melanie Mason, who worked as a baiter; Shannon Eldredge, who owns a trap fishing company; Morgan Eldredge, who works as a fisherman and with her sister, Shannon, at Fishermen’s Partnership Support Services; and Sandy Collingwood, who made and mended gillnets.

Davis, a member of the Chatham Select Board, comes from a fishing family, married a fisherman, has daughters who fish (the Eldredges mentioned above), has been a fisherman herself and is a fisheries advocate.  

She has been photographing people in the fisheries for close to 40 years, and as she chose images, some more than a decade old, and spoke to the women again, “their voices spoke a lot to my experience,” she said.

“Women’s voices aren’t really heard. Women have played an integral part for hundreds of years,” Davis said. 

Women can be found in every part of the industry, but that has always been challenging; just think about the myth that women are bad luck on a boat, Davis said.

So in addition to the challenges of the wind and tide, stormy seas and capricious markets, women have an extra hurdle. Overcoming that can take extra strength. 

“They exude their confidence and capability,” Davis said. “They are on equal par with anybody who participates in harvesting the sea.”

The exhibit speaks to normalcy – women have been there all along – but also to gender equality and diversity.

“I am hoping it brings a bigger perspective to the narrative of people who fish and harvest seafood,” Davis said.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Joseph agreed. “It was kind of an honor to be recognized in that way. It was one of my favorite jobs.” 

Joseph ran a shop that bought from a number of fishermen so she would go down in a big box truck to unload boats, pack fish and take it where it needed to go. She met a cross-section of interesting people and had to know how histamines affect tuna as well as how to quickly bait hundreds of hooks, among other things. 

Joseph added that those in the fisheries should be thankful to Davis, who has thrown herself into advocacy, but who also captures the stories of everyday people.

“She has really brought (the industry) to light,” Joseph said. 

Davis said she plans to keep at it.

“There are more stories to tell,” she said.  

The exhibit is expected to be online by November. For more information,  visit fishingheritagecenter.org/programs/calendar/.

Doreen Leggett is the community journalist for the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. She can be contacted at doreen@capecodfishermen.org. 

SMAST & New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center partner to educate local students

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SMAST News

Adrienne Wartts (September 30, 2021)

SMAST students volunteer their time to engage 4th-graders in marine science activities related to fisheries oceanography and climate science during the “Something Fishy Camp.”

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

“It is exciting to see the passion of the next generation of potential leaders in the marine science world. It is important to foster relationships within the community and to serve as an example of the potential pathways into fisheries and marine science.”

Andie Painten, SMAST graduate student

Mitchelle Chinonyerem Agonsi and Andie Painten, graduate students at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST), recently volunteered their time to engage with 4th-grade students during the “Something Fishy Camp” organized by the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. The goal of the partnership is to engage the New Bedford community in the research that takes place at SMAST and to teach youth about the exciting world of fisheries in their hometown.

“My role was to talk with the students about how I started studying marine science and what it is like to be a graduate student,” says Andie Painten, who is focusing her research on black sea bass and their relationship with offshore wind farms. During the camp, the students were introduced to lab equipment used at SMAST, including cameras, lights, a fish measuring board, and tagged scallop shells, which provided them with hands-on experience as if they were out in the field performing a survey.  

Mitchelle, who is pursuing her degree in Marine Science and Technology (Physical Oceanography), worked with additional volunteers to increase awareness of the ongoing research in SMAST. “We introduced what we do which varies from the study of scallops, lobsters, and starfishes to the use of marine instrumentation, such as the ocean gliders. The students were out on a boat trip prior to our team being there, so they were very eager to learn more.”

“Because I work with ocean gliders, I introduced them to the basis of ocean gliders, and the students were very fascinated about it with very interesting questions,” says Mitchelle. “The ocean glider is an automated underwater vehicle that typically measures the ocean’s physical and biological properties such as temperature and chlorophyll-a fluorescence by moving horizontally as it records in a saw-tooth trajectory at about 1km per hour (or 25cm per second), through a programmed depth range. It then surfaces every 2-3 hours to report its location and transmit recorded high-resolution data to the satellites,” she explains. “The oceanographer can then retrieve the data in real-time for further analysis.”

The students also learned about fish tagging: how fishes are monitored closely by marking them for a variety of scientific purposes such as monitoring fish distribution, behavioral patterns, migration techniques, and circulation patterns. “We then taught the students how to take records while at sea. They were excited to practice using the fish measurement instrument and taking down records on waterproof paper,” says Mitchelle.

Andie says volunteering at the Something Fishy Camp was a valuable experience and a good reminder of how in a community like New Bedford, fisheries science and management impacts the community as a whole, and it is important to stay involved. “The campers even taught me a few facts about their favorite fish,” she says. “It is exciting to see the passion of the next generation of potential leaders in the marine science world. It is important to foster relationships within the community and to serve as an example of the potential pathways into fisheries and marine science, especially as a female in an often male-dominated field. That it is feasible, and to show the campers that you can follow your passion and be successful.”

Mitchelle notes one thing that gives her a sense of purpose is lending a helping hand by volunteering. “I am always excited to let people know about what I study especially because it’s not a very popular field of study whereas the more you teach, the more it sticks. I envisioned that it will be a great opportunity to impact positively and encourage the young students to take up careers in marine science.”

She adds, “Science needs to be communicated to everyone both young and old, professional or non-professional, science-oriented or not. Science helps us understand our world and how it affects us and so we need to communicate our science. Participating in the Something Fishy Camp was indeed a pleasurable experience for me. It not only provided an avenue to communicate my science but it gave an assurance that somewhere in the world lies a place for everyone to give back a wholesome contribution even in the little acts of volunteering.”

‘More Than a Job’ offers a look into New Bedford fishing industry

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The Herald News

July 1, 2021

NEW BEDFORD —  New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center has recently celebrated the opening of its new, permanent exhibit, “More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry.”

In this file photo, Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including the new exhibit, "More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry."
In this file photo, Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including the new exhibit, “More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry.” Peter Pereira/ The Standard-Times
In this Standard Times file photo from earlier this spring, Laura Orleans, director, looks on as a new one-third scale scallop dredge manufactured by Blue Fleet Welding Services is installed at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
In this Standard Times file photo from earlier this spring, Laura Orleans, director, looks on as a new one-third scale scallop dredge manufactured by Blue Fleet Welding Services is installed at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. Peter Pereira/ The Standard-Times

The center held a grand opening of the new exhibit and marked its fifth anniversary on Saturday, June 26, with a free public event. The celebration at 38 Bethel St. included demonstrations of industry skills, kids’ activities, and live music by the Rum Soaked Crooks. A speaking program featured remarks delivered by Congressman Bill Keating, state Rep. Tony Cabral, and Brian Boyles, executive director of Mass Humanities.

“The nation’s most valuable port has long deserved an institution dedicated to telling its story,” said Executive Director Laura Orleans. “The Fishing Heritage Center fills that void, and our new exhibit offers visitors the sort of immersive experience usually reserved for larger museums.”

“More Than a Job” provides visitors with an introduction to the New Bedford fishing industry. Visitors can explore the changing nature of work and community through displays that present labor history, immigration and sustainability. They can also experience a working deck, which includes a scallop dredge, galley table and bunks. Guests can view historic and contemporary images and footage, and listen to more than sixty audio clips sharing the many voices of the fishing community:

“My husband, he didn’t tell me this, but he fell overboard while they were out to sea. They brought up the net, and he was in it. . . Now those kind of things our husbands didn’t tell us, because they didn’t want us to be upset over it.” -Barbara Calnan, fisherman’s wife

This quote is one from among the bounty of audio excerpts presented in “More Than a Job,” mined from the center’s extensive collection of audio recordings to create five listening stations and an interactive touch screen.

In 2004, the Working Waterfront Festival began documenting the history and experiences of the fishing community through interviews and facilitated discussions with industry members. When the Fishing Heritage Center opened its doors in 2016, this rich collection became the foundation for the Center’s archive. Since then, the center has doubled the size of its digital collection, engaging in several significant projects.

Funding for “More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry” is provided by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and significant support from Bristol County Savings Bank. Major in-kind support for this exhibit was provided by Fairhaven Shipyard and Blue Fleet Welding.

About New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

Over the past five years, the Fishing Heritage Center has welcomed thousands of visitors, hosted hundreds of local students, recorded dozens of oral history interviews, created numerous exhibits, and hosted a wide variety of educational programs. See the center’s website for updates on this event, www.fishingheritagecenter.org.

Located in the nation’s most valuable fishing port, New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the commercial fishing industry past, present, and future through exhibits, programs, and archives. The center is open Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning July 1, admission is $5; $4 for seniors and students; and free for members and children under 12. To schedule a small group tour of the new exhibit or to learn more about the exhibit, contact programs@fishingheritagecenter.org or call 508-993-8894.

Sea Changes at New Bedford’s Fishing Heritage Center

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1420 WBSM

Phil Paleologos (June 25, 2021)

Five years ago, tourists visiting our historic fishing port would just walk past the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street without blinking an eye. Executive Director Laura Orleans and her staff were just setting sail to start the center, with the idea of telling the action-packed story of New Bedford’s fishing industry with a year-round facility.

Yet considering how much the non-profit center has grown in these first five years, they knew they were going to need a bigger boat.

On Saturday, June 26, the public is invited to a free fifth anniversary celebration and the grand opening of the new permanent exhibit, More Than A Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Fishing Industry.

“‘More than a job’ is a phrase a lot of people in the industry say to describe what they do. Commercial fishing is a culture, a community, a way of life. Our new exhibit speaks to that idea,” Orleans said. “The exhibit explores themes including labor history, immigration, sustainability, and the changing nature of work and community.”

The progress made in the last five years has been noticeable. There are five listening stations, interactive touch screens, historic footage, and more than 60 audio clips that share the many voices of the local fishing community. Kids will enjoy exploring a replica working wheel house and deck, fish hold, galley tables and bunks, all designed and built at no charge by Fairhaven Shipyard. A one-third scale scallop dredge, built by Blue Fleet Welding also at no charge, provides the centerpiece for the display.

“We thought we’d give people who didn’t know too much about the fishing industry a firsthand, interactive exhibit,” Orleans said.

Courtesy Phil Mello

This time around, I seriously doubt that anyone will just walk past the center without stopping in to see the shucking demo, net mending, model making, kids activities and maritime music by Rum Soaked Crooks, to mention a few of the planned activities, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If the new exhibit is the bait that lures you to the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, I guarantee, you’ll be hooked and will want to soak up all you can from the interactive exhibits and displays that use technology to make the most of the center’s limited space.

As Orleans likes to tell people, “For those who remember the Working Waterfront Festival, we’ve bottled it in a building.”

Working the Waterfront: New Bedford, Massachusetts

Library of Congress website

Working the Waterfront: New Bedford, Massachusetts

In 2016, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center (NBFHC) received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document workers on the New Bedford, Massachusetts, waterfront for the Occupational Folklife Project (OFP). Folklorist and NBFHC Executive Director Laura Orleans, anthropologists Madeleine Hall-Arber and Corinn Williams, and oral historian Fred Calabretta recorded oral histories with 58 workers involved in diverse fishing-related trades on the New Bedford waterfront. Documented trades range from fish packers to net makers, navigational electronic technicians to marine divers, and maritime upholsterers to ice house workers. The interviews are supplemented by striking workplace portraits taken by New Bedford photographer Phillip Mello, who was also interviewed about his job as general manager at Bergie’s Seafood, and who has been taking photographs of his fellow waterfront workers since 1975.

Go to Working the Waterfront: New Bedford, Massachusetts collection items 

America Works Podcasts

Library of Congress website

About America Works

America WorksAmerica Works, an ongoing podcast series from the Library of Congress, features the voices of contemporary workers from throughout the United States talking about their lives, their workplaces, and their on-the-job experiences. Drawn from hundreds of longer oral history interviews collected by fieldworkers for the American Folklife Center’s Occupational Folklife Project (OFP), America Works is a testament to the wisdom, wit, knowledge, and dedication of today’s working Americans. These engaging oral histories, which have are preserved in the American Folklife Center’s archive, are enriching and expanding America’s historical record.

Subscribe via: RSS | iTunes | Stitcher

America Works

Title: Bernardo “Bernie” Piña, Fresh Produce Salesman. Nogales, Arizona
Speakers: Bernardo “Bernie” Piña, Nic Hartmann, Nancy Groce
Date: June 3, 2021
Running Time: 10:25
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Title: Mike Peabody, Garbage Man and Recycling. Barre, Vermont
Speakers: Mike Peabody, Virginia Nickerson, Nancy Groce
Date: May 27, 2021
Running Time: 10:25
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Title: Jim Mercer, Commercial Marine Diver. New Bedford, Massachusetts
Speakers: Jim Mercer, Madeline Hall-Arber, Nancy Groce
Date: May 20, 2021
Running Time: 9:28
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Title: Kim Spicer, Electrician and Wire-Women. Queens, New York
Speakers: Kim Spicer, Jaime Lopez, Setare Arashloo, Nancy Groce
Date: May 13, 2021
Running Time: 10:16
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Title: Jennifer Sgro, Nurse Practitioner, Night Ministry Bus. Chicago, Illinois
Speakers: Jennifer Sgro, Margaret Miles, Nancy Groce
Date: May 6, 2021
Running Time: 9:54
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Title: James Hensley, Port Pilot. Houston, Texas
Speakers: Captain James Hensley, Betsy Peterson, Nancy Groce
Date: April 29, 2021
Running Time: 13:50
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Title: Heather Campbell Hill, Funeral Director. Raleigh, North Carolina
Speakers: Heather Campbell Hill, Sarah Bryan, Nancy Groce
Date: April 22, 2021
Running Time: 10:40
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Title: Sarah Fortin, Fish Net Maker. New Bedford, Massachusetts
Speakers: Sarah Fortin, Fred Calabretta, Nancy Groce
Date: April 15, 2021
Running Time: 9:15
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Title: Patrick Bovenzi, Race Track Worker and Horse Identifier. Tampa Bay, Florida
Speakers: Patrick Bovenzi, Ellen McHale, Nancy Groce
Date: October 8, 2020
Running Time: 9:56
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Title: Sharon Sisson, Iron Worker. Chicago, Illinois
Speakers: Sharon Sisson, Richard Sisson, Bucky Halker, Nancy Groce
Date: October 1, 2020
Running Time: 8:31
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Title: Shuly Amsel, Wig Maker. Brooklyn, New York
Speakers: Shuly Amsel, Candacy Taylor, Nancy Groce
Date: September 24, 2020
Running Time: 7:42
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Title: Richard Bludworth, Shipyard Owner. Houston, Texas
Speakers: Richard Bludworth, Pat Jasper, Nancy Groce
Date: September 17, 2020
Running Time: 9:40
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Title: Joyce Vegar, Home Health Care Worker. Coos County, Oregon
Speakers: Joyce Vegar, Nathan Moore, Donald Stacy, Nancy Groce
Date: September 10, 2020
Running Time: 9:15
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Title: Greg Vaught, Gold Mine Worker. Elko, Nevada
Speakers: Greg Vaught, Meg Glaser, Charlie Seemann, Nancy Groce
Date: September 3, 2020
Running Time: 9:21
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Title: Jeff Hafler, Hair Stylist. Wonder Valley, California
Speakers: Jeff Hafler, Candacy Taylor, Nancy Groce
Date: September 3, 2020
Running Time: 8:26
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Title: Barbara Miller Byrd, Circus Owner. Hugo, Oklahoma
Speakers: Barbara Miller Byrd, Tanya D. Finchum, Juliana Nykolaiszyn, Nancy Groce
Date: September 3, 2020
Running Time: 9:39
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Title: America Works – Series Preview
Speakers: Nancy Groce, various
Date: August 27, 2020
Running Time: 1:01
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More Than a Job: New Bedford’s work and community

Read the article online here.

National Fisherman

Jessica Hathaway (April 27, 2021)

 

As parts of our communities begin to reopen, the fishing industry is a reminder that essential services never stopped running in the year since businesses and even public services in the United States began to shutter their doors.

The crown jewel of Massachusetts’ fishing industry, New Bedford’s history is inexorably tied to its working waterfront. This month, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will reopen to the public with a new exhibit — More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Fishing Industry.

“Fishing industry workers often describe what they do as ‘more than a job,’” said Laura Orleans, the center’s executive director. “We are excited to share our new permanent exhibit with the public, giving visitors a chance to hear directly from the fishing community by sharing dozens of audio clips from oral histories conducted over the past two decades. We are grateful to many in the industry for supporting the project and for sharing their stories, skills, time, and knowledge.”

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center exhibit More Than a Job: Work and Community opened April 15, 2021. Phil Mello photo
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center exhibit More Than a Job: Work and Community opened April 15, 2021. Phil Mello photo

This exhibit is designed to offer visitors an introduction to the workings of the fishing industry and explore industry-related topics like labor history, immigration, sustainability, and the changing nature of work and community.

The exhibit features a replica working deck, scallop dredge, galley table, bunks, historic and contemporary images and footage, and more than 60 audio clips sharing the many voices of the local fishing community.

Located in the nation’s most valuable fishing port, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the commercial fishing industry’s past, present, and future through exhibits, programs, and archives.

Beginning April 15, the center is open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. To schedule a small group tour of the new exhibit or to learn more about the exhibit, contact programs@fishingheritagecenter.org or call (508) 993-8894.

Funding for this exhibit is provided by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and significant support from Bristol County Savings Bank. Major in-kind support for this exhibit was provided by Fairhaven Shipyard and Blue Fleet Welding. 

‘More than a job’: New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center reopens Thursday with new exhibit

Read the article here.

SouthCoast Today | The Standard-Times

Anastasia Lennon

April 14, 2021

NEW BEDFORD — Just a few minutes from the city’s waterfront sits a collection of films, photos, audio recordings and artifacts that tell the story of an industry not often seen firsthand by the general public: the fishing industry. 

After closing in December, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center reopens this Thursday with its new exhibit, “More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry.” The center describes it as an “introduction” to New Bedford’s preeminent industry. 

“The nation’s most valuable port has long deserved an institution dedicated to telling its story,” said Laura Orleans, executive director of the center. “The Fishing Heritage Center fills that void.”

New Bedford fishing industry

The exhibit explores the industry in New Bedford beginning in the 1900s by considering sustainability, labor unions, diversity, family, community and the “American dream.” It illustrates what the industry does and represents through the voices and stories of those in it, Orleans said. 

Sal Sequeira, Dave St. Pierre and Domingo Ixcuna Lucas of Blue Fleet Welding Services, install a one-third scale scallop dredge they manufactured, inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.  This is one of the many new exhibits soon to open.
Sal Sequeira, Dave St. Pierre and Domingo Ixcuna Lucas of Blue Fleet Welding Services, install a one-third scale scallop dredge they manufactured, inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. This is one of the many new exhibits soon to open. Peter Pereira/ New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

“To be standing all day makes you tired. But sometimes when you are working, cleaning fish, you start thinking of your father or sometimes your mother and you think ‘I’ll send my check this week,'” said Lillian Riveira, a fish cutter, in one of the recordings that will play in the exhibit. 

Orleans estimates they have 300 to 400 hours of audio recordings, which they plan to swap periodically in the exhibit so that visitors can hear new material. 

Aurally, visitors will also get to experience the sound of the fog horn, a mayday call, or a vessel’s engine, which ticks interminably for those on board for long stretches.

Visually, visitors can view model vessels and various artifacts fishermen have pulled up in their nets, including a mastodon tooth and a Russian belt buckle. They can also view decades-old footage spliced with present-day film, which in combination show what has and has not changed in the industry.  

Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry.  The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon. Peter Pereira/ New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

One of Orleans’ favorite parts of the exhibit is a tall board with dozens of nicknames belonging to ship crew from Fairhaven and New Bedford, some of which have previously been displayed at the center. While some nicknames are funny, a few are ethnic slurs, Orleans noted.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting thing for people to talk about,” she said, adding that some aspects of the exhibit deal with some less celebratory, more contentious subjects, including the offshore wind industry and labor unions. 

Sustaining the ocean’s resources

The executive director hopes people walk away from the exhibit with an understanding that for many people in the fishing industry, their job is their way of life. She also wants people to recognize that fishermen have been working “since the beginning” to sustain the ocean’s resources

Matt Walsh and Stephen Walsh of WB Inc. carpenters, are seen through one of the windows on the bridge found inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry.  The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Matt Walsh and Stephen Walsh of WB Inc. carpenters, are seen through one of the windows on the bridge found inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon. Peter Pereira/ New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

“I feel like people come in often with a preconception that fishermen… don’t care about the environment,” she said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is put a human face on the fishing community and give people a sense that fishermen really depend on a healthy resource in order to fish.”

Thursday marks the “soft opening” before the exhibit’s official opening celebration in June, which will also mark the center’s five-year anniversary. Admission is free until July 1, when the center will start charging a fee of $5 or less, depending on age and membership status. 

“I hope people will take some time when they’re here to pick up those handsets and listen to the voices of the fishing community because I think that people have amazing stories to share,” Orleans said. “Some of them are really funny, some are very poignant, and what I really like is that people get an opportunity to hear directly from people who live this every day.”

The new exhibit was funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and Bristol County Savings Bank. Fairhaven Shipyard and Blue Fleet Welding donated time and resources, including building the exhibit’s working deck.

The center is open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday. For more information, visit www.fishingheritagecenter.org

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center to open with new exhibits

Read the article online here.

SouthCoast Today | The Standard-Times

April 14, 2021

Sal Sequeira, Dave St. Pierre and Domingo Ixcuna Lucas of Blue Fleet Welding Services, install a one-third scale scallop dredge they manufactured, inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. This is one of the many new exhibits soon to open.
Sal Sequeira, Dave St. Pierre and Domingo Ixcuna Lucas of Blue Fleet Welding Services, install a one-third scale scallop dredge they manufactured, inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. This is one of the many new exhibits soon to open.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
(l to r) Mauro Moreira, Matt Walsh, and Stephen Walsh, install a display with New Bedford fishermen nicknames. WB Inc. carpenters install new exhibits inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
(l to r) Mauro Moreira, Matt Walsh, and Stephen Walsh, install a display with New Bedford fishermen nicknames. WB Inc. carpenters install new exhibits inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Laura Orleans, director, tests out one of the many new audio content stations being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Matt Walsh and Stephen Walsh of WB Inc. carpenters, are seen through one of the windows on the bridge found inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Matt Walsh and Stephen Walsh of WB Inc. carpenters, are seen through one of the windows on the bridge found inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Laura Orleans, director, looks on, as a new one-third scale scallop dredge manufactured by Blue Fleet Welding Services is installed at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Laura Orleans, director, looks on, as a new one-third scale scallop dredge manufactured by Blue Fleet Welding Services is installed at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Matt Walsh carries an informational sign outlining the type of fish caught by New Bedford fishermen. WB Inc. carpenters install new exhibits inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Matt Walsh carries an informational sign outlining the type of fish caught by New Bedford fishermen. WB Inc. carpenters install new exhibits inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Laura Orleans, director, and Charlie York, look on below, as Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, hang the one-third scale scallop dredge from the ceiling of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Laura Orleans, director, and Charlie York, look on below, as Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, hang the one-third scale scallop dredge from the ceiling of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Matt Walsh and Mauro Moreira, of WB Inc. install an informational panel outlining the type of fish New Bedford fishermen catch. This one of the many new exhibits being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Matt Walsh and Mauro Moreira, of WB Inc. install an informational panel outlining the type of fish New Bedford fishermen catch. This one of the many new exhibits being installed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Stephen Walsh walks past the ships bell, as he makes modifications to the wheelhouse and ships bunks being installed, as part of the all new exhibits at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Stephen Walsh walks past the ships bell, as he makes modifications to the wheelhouse and ships bunks being installed, as part of the all new exhibits at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Blue Fleet Welding Services welders, Domingo Ixcuna Lucas, Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, install the one-third scallop dredge they manufactured for the newly redone interior of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Blue Fleet Welding Services welders, Domingo Ixcuna Lucas, Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, install the one-third scallop dredge they manufactured for the newly redone interior of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Stephen Walsh and Laura Orleans, director, discuss where the new exhibits will be placed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford's Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
Stephen Walsh and Laura Orleans, director, discuss where the new exhibits will be placed inside of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center on Bethel Street in New Bedford, which is undergoing major renovations including More than a Job: Work and Community in New Bedford’s Commercial Fishing Industry. The new exhibits are scheduled to open soon.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
Blue Fleet Welding Services welders, Domingo Ixcuna Lucas, Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, install the one-third scallop dredge they manufactured for the newly redone interior of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Blue Fleet Welding Services welders, Domingo Ixcuna Lucas, Sal Sequeira and Dave St Pierre, install the one-third scallop dredge they manufactured for the newly redone interior of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES
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