New Bedford Whaling

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Date: December 29, 2014
Contact: Eileen Martinez, 619-557-5450 ext.4572

Cabrillo National Monument to welcome the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s traveling exhibition Yankee Baleeiros! on January 25 

Exhibition celebrates the interwoven stories of the Azorean, Cape Verdean, and Brazilian immigration to the United States

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — As a result of the phenomenal turnout of more than 103,000 visitors to the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s traveling exhibition Yankee Baleeiros! The Shared Legacies of Luso and Yankee Whalers at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Cabrillo National Monument is proud to host the next “leg” of the exhibition’s journey in Southern California. Cabrillo National Monument will welcome Yankee Baleeiros! with a public opening on January 25, 2015. 

“San Francisco was the whaling capital of the world after New Bedford which made it the logical first stop for the Whaling Museum’s traveling exhibition in California,” said James Russell, President of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. “The importance of Cabrillo National Monument to the Portuguese diaspora makes San Diego an equally significant destination to this share this rich, cultural narrative.”   

Yankee Baleerios! 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. The United States Census data suggests that three million people in the U.S. self-identify with Portuguese, Cape Verdean or Brazilian ancestry. These distinct cultures are linked historically through heritage, language, and the pursuit of opportunity afforded by the international network of Yankee whaling.

It was on whaling voyages during the 1800’s that mariners from the Azores and Cabo Verde first interacted with and often joined the crew of New Bedford whaling ships. New Bedford became the veritable “Portuguese Ellis Island” of North America from the time of Yankee whaling through the Industrial Revolution, as job opportunities arose and as families joined the already growing Portuguese communities in the area. 

On the Pacific coast of the United States, Brazil also became an influential Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) connection through the industry of commercial whaling. Many whalers left their ships to pursue the Gold Rush, fishing, and agricultural careers, forebears of the extensive Lusophone community of California.

Park Superintendent Tom Workman commented, “We are proud to partner with the New Bedford Whaling Museum to bring this engaging and culturally relevant exhibition to San Diego.”  Today, California is home to the largest Portuguese population and the fifth largest Cape Verdean population in the United States. 

Yankee Baleeiros! reveals how the Lusophone migration is integral to the American story. See how distinct cultures and communities who share similar languages are linked by maritime commerce as well as by similar motivations for coming to America. 

Yankee Baleeiros! will open at Cabrillo National Monument in the View Building, 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA, 92019 on Sunday, January 25, 2015. The public is invited to attend an opening reception from 1 – 4 p.m. hosted by the National Park Service and the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. The reception will feature remarks by Christina Connett, PhD, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The exhibition will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be on display through April 2015. It will close on Sunday, April 12 with a free public lecture presented by James Russell, President of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. 

Cabrillo National Monument is the first venue to host Yankee Baleeiros! in 2015. The San Diego “leg” of this exhibition is a partnership among Cabrillo National Monument and Foundation, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Consulates of Portugal in New Bedford and in California, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the United Portuguese S.E.S. Inc., PALCUS, the Portuguese Historical Center, and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at the University of San Diego.

Support for this traveling exhibition is provided by the William M. Wood Foundation, the William E. Schrafft & Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, the Southeastern Massachusetts Visitors Bureau, and Poyant Signs, Inc. For more information about the exhibition, visit

About the New Bedford Whaling Museum

 The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales and the history and culture of the South Coast region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Museum hours April through December: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum hours January through March: Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Open on Holiday Mondays. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. every second Thursday of the month and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  For more information, visit  

Last updated: February 27, 2015

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