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To Build a Whaleboat


Whale Days 2013-2014

Come visit us this winter! By reservation only, available through May 9, 2014.
Fee: $5 per participant
Age: Ages 8 - adult. Great for students, community groups, adult learners
Program Length: 2.5 hours

Whaleship Charles W. Morgan
Whaleship Charles W. Morgan, at Mystic Seaport,
Mystic, CT. Image courtesy Mystic Seaport.

This winter, visitors are invited to LCMM’s boat shop where Museum staff, volunteers, and Champlain Longboats students are building a whaleboat for Mystic Seaport’s newly restored whaleship Charles W. Morgan. Plunge into the dramatic history of whaling, measure yourself against a whale jawbone, ribs and vertebrae on loan from New Bedford Whaling Museum, then go behind the scenes to discover how whaleboats are made. LCMM’s Whale Days programs connect the Champlain Valley to this dramatic chapter in America’s maritime past and highlight recent efforts to help ensure the survival of the world’s marine mammals.

Whale Days Programs for students, home school families and community groups of all ages are available through May 9, 2014, at $5 per participant. For information and reservations contact Samantha Williams, 802 475-2022 ext. 115.

Following an illustrated introduction, you will visit three activity stations over two hours:

Steam Bending: Watch the magic of steam bending and learn how and why it works as we bend oak into mast hoops, the traditional method of attaching sails to the mast. We will heat white oak to 180 degrees and bend it into an amazingly tight radius. Learn about other uses for steam bending and where this remarkable technology had its origins.

Scrimshaw: Participate in a scrimshaw activity. Create and etch your own nautical design into synthetic material and color it with ink. Learn how whalers developed this artistry and what role it played in whaling culture of the 19th century.

Sperm Whale Lower Jaw
View the lower jaw from a sperm whale,
on loan from the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Whale Anatomy: How big are whales really? In this activity we discuss the size of whales and the way their bodies are adapted to ocean life. We will measure out the smallest and largest marine mammals so that students can visualize their incredible range of sizes. Once students are familiar with the anatomy of a whale, we will build one using the common external body parts of cetaceans.

Sea Chanteys (additional fee applies): Join in song with an LCMM Shanty Man and learn how music was used to motivate and entertain whalers who were at sea for years at a time. Singing was a critical part of life on a whale ship and this is an opportunity to learn more about the daily life of the crew.

Whale Days programs are a unique opportunity for visitors to get behind the scenes to share an important project while Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s exhibit buildings are closed for the season. Students in LCMM’s Champlain Longboats youth boatbuilding program will help build the whaleboat this winter, and will deliver the boat to Mystic in the spring when Charles W. Morgan embarks on a voyage to several historic New England whaling ports. Follow the progress of the Whaleboat project all winter on LCMM’s Facebook page.


Follow our progress on our Facebook page: