The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage

The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage

Grand Panorama-painting


Article & Graphics Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

At Kilburn Mill, 127 West Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford

Grand Panorama-original

Limited Showing July 14 – October 8 
Free and open to the public
Open 9 am – 5 pm
7 days a week
Map and directions to Kilburn Mill (Google Maps)

Shuttle Service every half hour between the Museum and the Mill 
Daily from 10 am to 5 pm (July 14 through Labor Day)

Saturday, July 14

Family Day & Exhibit Opening
10 am – 3 pm
Free and open to the public

Click here for the schedule of activities beginning at 10 am.

Grand Panorama-set the stageSee America’s longest painting – longer than the Empire State Building is tall. All 1,275 feet of the Panorama will be on exhibit to awe visitors. This is the first time in generations that the entire Panorama will be seen by the public. Set amidst an historic textile mill in New Bedford, visitors will be able to travel around the world and back in time without ever leaving the city. The exhibition will also feature interpretive panels and kiosks to enrich the context and content of the Panorama. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be free and open to the public, open during normal Museum hours through Columbus Day.

The Panorama is a maritime artwork of national historical importance, authentically depicting a whaling voyage originating from the port of New Bedford in the mid-19th century. It was painted in 1848, by New Bedford artists Caleb Purrington and Benjamin Russell, who traveled it around the country as a commercial enterprise. The panorama as a form of public entertainment was developed in Europe in the late 18th century and subsequently made its way to the United States after demonstrating its commercial potential to an armchair traveler audience. A “panorama” as defined by Robert Barker, who patented this exhibition style, means “all view.” He felt that spectators should feel like they were “really on the very spot,” that they should feel as if they were part of the scene in a surrogate reality, an imaginary “Grand Tour” of the world. This is precisely what visitors will experience.

In the late 1840’s and early 1850’s (proceeding the age of cinema) the Panorama was designed and performed as a moving panorama, a form of entertainment where multiple scrolls moved across a stage similar to how a reel-to-reel film would later be shown. After years on display, the wear and tear on the 170-year old painting was so extensive that it was deemed worthless and impossible to conserve. After decades of conservation planning and method strategy research, the Museum brought this national treasure back to life and is proud to share it with the public. However, due to the extensive conservation efforts that have been invested into the painting, it will no longer be shown in its original format – as a moving panorama – as this will undo the extensive work recently completed.

The Panorama drew crowds in the era of public entertainment before moving pictures and films. To celebrate this origin, the exhibition will be coupled with dynamic and engaging programming all summer long. Live performances, contemporary artistic presentations, and other unique interpretations will accompany educational programs and cultural celebrations.

WNB One Radio

WNB One Radio

DID YOU KNOW that inside Kilburn Mill sits a little treasure? The internet radio station.. WNB-ONE Radio. This month we are shining our tenant spotlight on them! James Pierce and Alejandro Shoy have taken their passion for music and turned it into a platform to reach people and enhance the community while spreading a positive vibe. They have something for everyone, music, sports and politics as well as a local band showcase. If you haven’t listened to WNB-ONE yet, download the app for Android or iPhone and give them a try, you won’t be sorry!

If you are interested in renting creative space for your business or venture please contact us. We would love to hear about it!

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