Visit New England


Add thrill to the chill at marathon reading of "Moby-Dick" at New Bedford (MA) Whaling Museum. As close as you can get to the historic story!

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 28, 2017 9:20:42 AM / by Mary Lhowe

Mary Lhowe


A perfect time to visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum is coming up: Jan. 5-7, during the yearly marathon reading of “Moby-Dick” (also with an abridged version for kids).

150 people each read a short passage from this novel in many languages (with English translation) and even Braille. The Seamen’s Bethel (Whaleman’s Chapel, in the novel) hosts the reading of Father Mapple’s sermon. It’s a profound celebration of a great American work of art. Lots of related activities all weekend.  Seethe schedule below:

Schedule of Events

 Friday, January 5

5:30 – 9 pm
Pre-marathon Dinner, Movie, and Discussion
Call: 508-997-0046

Enjoy a meal well-suited for hungry sailors followed by David Shaerf’s documentary film Call Us Ishmael, an intimate look at the world’s obsession with Moby-Dick and its cultural legacy. The Melville Society Cultural Project will conclude the night with a lively discussion of the film.  


 Saturday, January 6

The Marathon Experience 
10 am – Sunday 1 pm 
Free and open to the public

10 a.m. Stump the Scholars
Test your knowledge of Moby-Dick and try to Stump the Scholars with questions for Melville Society Cultural Project members.

10 a.m. Children’s Mini-Marathon
Children of all ages can read a section of an abridged version of Moby-Dick by Classic Starts. 

Noon The Main Attraction
The Moby-Dick Marathon reading begins with celebrity readers nestled among the world’s largest model whaleship – the Lagoda. Next, head to the Seamen’s Bethel to hear Father Mapple’s rousing sermon (if your name is drawn in the seat raffle. Otherwise, watch a live-stream of the sermon in the Museum’s theater.) Readings continue while overlooking the New Bedford Harbor, with the exception of Chapter 40, “Forecastle-Midnight” in the Museum’s theater. Listen to excerpts read in multiple languages, bringing to life Melville’s experience of a culturally diverse whaling crew.

2:30 p.m. Chat with Melville Scholars & Book Signing 
Have your book signed by contributors to the new third edition of Norton’s Moby-Dick from the Melville Society Cultural Project members (Robert K. Wallace, Timothy Marr, Wyn Kelley, Mary K.  Bercaw Edwards). 

3 p.m. Portuguese Mini-Marathon
Join us for the reading of Tiago Patricio’s abridged version of Moby-Dick in Portuguese. Read Melville in the Azorean Whaleman Gallery with forty-eight other intrepid souls.

Junte-nos para a terceira leitura anual de versão abreviada de Tiago Patricio de Moby-Dick em Português. Leia Melville na Galeria do Baleeiro Açoreano com quarenta e oito outras almas intrépidas.

3 – 5 p.m. “Above It All” Artist Demonstration 
New Bedford Whaling National Park, 33 William Street (across the street from Museum). See art in action as artist Peter Michael Martin pulls a large-scale woodblock print especially designed for the Moby-Dick Marathon.

5 – 9 p.m. Cousin Hosea’s Chowder House and the Decanter Taproom
Re-charge and warm up with New Bedford’s finest chowders and soups from local restaurants – Destination Soups, Freestone’s City Grill, Tia Maria’s European Cafe, and Quahog Republic Whaler’s Tavern. Moby-Dick Brewing Co. will be serving up local brews in the Decanter Taproom.

7 – 7:30 pm Culture Park’s performance of Midnight on the Fo’c’sle (chapter 40)

 Sunday, January 7

8 a.m. The 20th-hour Feast
Enjoy malassadas, provided by Inner Bay Café, and all the trimmings to fuel you up for the home stretch!

9:30 a.m. Chat with Melville Scholars

Around 1 p.m. Epilogue
A few souls will be richly rewarded for impressively staying up all night.




Mary Lhowe

Written by Mary Lhowe