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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.”
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 email@example.com or call 508-993-8894.