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The Massachusetts Whale Trail is a one-of-a-kind collection of museums and attractions, whale watching excursions, and historic sites and tours. Nautical art is prolific in the Bay State, but only a select few artists specialize in whales. From stunning photography to hand-painted signs, grand sculptures to meticulously carved scrimshaw, the variety and quality of work capturing the beloved sea creatures is not to be missed. Be the captain of your adventure and set your course for these art galleries and shops to enrich your Whale Trail experience.
Kahn Fine Antiques and Works of Art – Chatham
Showcasing high-end nautical antiques and historical objects, along with scrimshaw and whaling artifacts. You never know what treasures may be waiting for you to find at this fine antiques and art shop.
Nantucket Carving and Folk Art – Nantucket
One part traditional carving shop, one part gallery, Nantucket Carving and Folk Art is responsible for the magnificent carving at The Nantucket Whaling Museum depicting “Going on the Whale.” This piece is also a great island keepsake; a miniature form of the carving is available for purchase.
Arthur Moniz Gallery – New Bedford
Arthur Moniz has been painting the beauty of the historic maritime coastal communities for over 35 years. He has documented the New Bedford/Fairhaven fishing fleet as well as the whale ships that sailed from the famous port. The Gallery is located directly across from the New Bedford Whaling Museum in the heart of the National Park.
3d whale sculpture by Sunny Wood, photo source: Nantucket Whales
Nantucket Whales – Nantucket
Experience incredible whale carvings and sculptures. Drawing from the personal relationship between artist and nature, Sunny Wood’s whale carvings are a beautiful example of historically-informed artwork. Each of his whales and carvings takes on a unique personality, and tells its own story about the legacy of whaling in Nantucket. Studio view by appointment only.
Cape Cod Maritime Museum – Hyannis
Cape Cod’s largest scrimshaw collection is housed at the Museum. In addition to the whale art, enjoy countless children’s programs and activities. Take a sail on a replica of the 1886 Crosby catboat, or simply wander the galleries and take in the rich history of Cape Cod’s maritime past.
Focus Gallery – Chatham
Bryant Austin’s fine art photography is like no other, featuring life-sized portraits of whales. These mesmerizing works transport the viewer under the sea right up next to these gentle giants. A great deal of time and patience goes into such work. Bryant has to go for a dive every time he wants to do a new shoot, and often he will wait weeks or months for a lucky encounter—the result of which is his beautiful art.
Scrimshaw ship by Nancy Lyon, photo source: Black Whale Gallery
Black Whale Gallery – Orleans
Nancy Lyons is a scrimshaw master. With over 30 years of experience with her craft, Nancy carves nautical scenes, whales and other subject matter on whalebone, antique ivory, mammoth tusks, and even piano keys! Explore her diverse collection at the Black Whale Gallery.
Scrimshander Gallery – Nantucket
Scrimshander Gallery is a locally owned and operated art gallery located on Nantucket’s bustling Centre Street featuring artist Mike Vienneau. Patrons can expect to find an array of ornate and detailed scrimshaw carvings in responsibly sourced ivory, with many pieces incorporating other nautical materials like shells.
Formerly a sail loft, a whale oil factory, an old grain store, and a boat builder’s shed, the distinctive building now known as the Old Sculpin Gallery, home of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association, is over 240 years old. Featured works from local artists rotate frequently, and there is also a permanent collection from island artists on display.
Feature photo, “Going on the Whale,” at the Nantucket Whaling Museum by Nantucket Carving and Folk Art