June 29 – October 30, 2022
This major exhibition presents the art and history of scrimshaw, a nautical folk art form created by whalers during the international whaling trade of the 19th century. The surprising history of this unique art form is explained and brought to life through the stories of the makers and recipients of these intricately detailed keepsakes. A wide range of decorative and utilitarian objects evoke connections to historic life on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and New Bedford and show the ways that people from diverse backgrounds expressed artistic creativity. New perspectives on the whaler’s life include the astonishing stories of local Wampanoag whalers.
This exhibition includes over 200 important examples from The Deitrich American Foundation, Heritage Museum and Gardens, The Mariners’ Museum and Park, Mystic Seaport Museum, Nantucket Whaling Museum, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and private New England collections.
Scrimshaw: The Whaler’s Art is organized by the Cahoon Museum of American Art with Guest Curator, Dr. Alan Granby and Dr. Sarah Johnson, Executive Director of the Cahoon Museum of American Art.