New Bedford, MA – The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is pleased to announce the opening of its’ latest exhibit Working on the Waterfront. An opening reception will take place on October 11th at 6:30 p.m. during AHA. The exhibit will run through January 2019.
In New Bedford, there are over 5,000 people working in the commercial fishing industry both on and off-shore. Those in shoreside businesses work in a variety of positions such as electronics technicians, fuel barge operators, welders, fish samplers, settlement staff, fish cutters, and fish sellers. From preparing a vessel to go out to sea to processing the product for market, all of these workers are vital to the success of the fishing trip and the industry.
Working on the Waterfront highlights the vital role of these shoreside workers. These men and women understand the importance of doing the best job possible because the quality of their work means a safe, successful trip for the vessel or a better price for the product. They talk with pride about their jobs and how, in spite of challenges, love what they do. The majority of those interviewed work for family owned businesses, creating a unique workplace environment which they value.
These oral history excerpts and photographs are from interviews recorded as part of an Archie Green Fellowship from the Library of Congress awarded to the Center. The project, Workers on the New Bedford Waterfront, produced interviews and photographic portraits of 58 shore-side workers involved in the local commercial fishing industry with a particular emphasis on female workers and Central American workers. In addition to being a part of the Center’s archives, these interviews and photographs are part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.The exhibit includes an interactive oral history kiosk which allows visitors to listen to audio excerpts.
Interviews were conducted by: Laura Orleans – Folklorist & Executive Director of the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center; Madeleine Hall-Arber – retired anthropologist, MIT Sea Grant; Corinn Williams – Executive Director of Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts; and Fred Calabretta – Oral historian at Mystic Seaport Museum. Project Photographer was Phil Mello of Big Fish Studio. Support for the project and exhibit was provided by Archie Green Fellowship – Library of Congress and NOAA’s Voices from the Fisheries.
The Center is open Thursday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Located at 38 Bethel Street in the heart of the National Park, the Center is wheelchair accessible with free off-street parking.
The 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. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 993-8894.