New Bedford’s arts and culture sectors ‘back in business’

Whaling Museum, Rotch-Jones house re-open their doors

NEW BEDFORD — The Whaling Museum opened Thursday morning to something it hasn’t seen in almost four months: visitors.

The excitement couldn’t be contained. Amanda McMullen, the museum president and chief executive officer, opened a press conference after 11 a.m. on Thursday outside of the museum entrance by saying, “I could not be more thrilled to say these words ‘welcome back.’” An applause followed.

Anita Berson, 68, of Bordentown, New Jersey, said she was the first visitor of the day and stayed through the press conference. Jordan Berson, director of collections at the museum, is her nephew.

“I felt safe coming here,” Anita Berson said. “Whatever that word means right now, so they seem to be doing it right.” The Whaling Museum has kept in touch with its members, so she knew what changes to expect, she said. The museum is open to members only right now and plans to welcome the general public July 23 on a “pay-what-you-can model.”


Many of them worked together on a safe reopening, following public health guidelines of both the city and state, as Massachusetts transitioned into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan July 6.

According to a news advisory, the organizations include: 3rd Eye Unlimited, AHA!, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts, DATMA, New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford Historical Society, New Bedford Port Society, New Bedford Seaport Cultural District, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, the Whaling Museum, Rotch-Jones-Duff House, the Whaling National Historical Park and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.