Yankee Baleeiros whaling exhibit opens at Cabrillo.

Looking out the rear of the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center on a beautiful day.
Looking out the rear of the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center on a beautiful day.

I saw on the morning news that an important exhibit was opening today in the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center. I haven’t been up that way since I blogged about the park’s centennial, so I figured I’d go check things out!

The traveling exhibition is called Yankee Baleeiros! The Shared Legacies of Luso and Yankee Whalers. That’s quite a long title, but it’s fitting for the epic displays that occupy about half of the sizable visitor center. Developed by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the exhibit “celebrates the interwoven Luso-American stories of the Azorean, Cape Verdean, and Brazilian communities in the United States from early immigration in the 18th century through the latter half of the 20th century.” Sounds like a long and tedious thesis! But it’s actually fascinating! Basically, it shows the rich history of Portuguese speaking whalers in the Northeast, primarily New Bedford, and how they interacted with Yankee whalers.

As San Diego is one of the world’s best places to encounter a large variety of whale species, and as this is the season for migrating gray whales, the exhibit is more than appropriate. The displays also address how whaling techniques evolved over the years, the success of modern conservation efforts, and how whale-watching is now a much larger industy than whaling.

After listening to a short opening presentation by Park Superintendent Tom Workman and Christina Connett, PhD, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, I headed out to Cabrillo’s excellent Pacific Ocean viewing areas to scan the horizon for spouts. I didn’t see any, but there were a bunch of boats off Point Loma whale-watching on this sunny Sunday afternoon. I got more pics from my visit coming, so stay tuned!

If you haven’t been to Cabrillo National Monument in a while (or ever), head on over! The special exhibit will be on display through April 12, 2015.

Park Superintendent Tom Workman talks while Christina Connett of the New Bedford Whaling Museum listens.
Park Superintendent Tom Workman talks while Christina Connett of the New Bedford Whaling Museum listens.
People listen to presentation at opening of Yankee Baleeiros whaling exhibit.
People listen to presentation at opening of Yankee Baleeiros whaling exhibit.
Displays recount the history of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) whalers in America.
Displays recount the history of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) whalers in America.
New Bedford was the major port for whalers in the Northeast.
New Bedford was the major port for whalers in the Northeast.
Inside the visitor center is a section of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington.
Inside the visitor center is a section of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington.

Portions of the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington were on display inside and outside the visitor center. The complete work is 1,275 feet long and eight and a half feet tall! It’s believed to be the longest painting in the world! The piece went on a national tour shortly after completion, and appeared at the 1964 New York World’s Fair! Cool!

The fantastic displays are museum quality and extremely informative.
The fantastic displays are museum quality and extremely informative.
Photos of sailors rowing out to hunt whales, and a harpooner at the ready.
Photos of sailors rowing out to hunt whales, and a harpooner at the ready.
A dead whale is hauled to the ship's side and stripped of blubber by many hands.
A dead whale is hauled to the ship’s side and stripped of blubber by many hands.
People point out spots on a map of historical whaling grounds.
People point out spots on a map of historical whaling grounds.
The opening presentation is over and folks head out to take in the many sights around Cabrillo.
The opening presentation is over and folks head out to take in the many sights around Cabrillo.
Is there a whale out there? Probably not. This back door faces San Diego Bay!
Is there a whale out there? Probably not. This back door faces San Diego Bay!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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