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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Portraits of Ports, an interactive distance learning website by the New Bedford Whaling Museum
Lee Heald, New Bedford Whaling Museum, USA
Katherine Laing, The Artfx Group, Canada

Demonstration: Your Colleagues - 2

In 2002, the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM) initiated the interactive, web-based, distance-learning project, Portraitsofports.org. Using the thematic approach developed for the permanent installations within the NBWM, the website is designed to allow for regular expansion through the inclusion of more of the world's ports, all of which were involved with the New Bedford whaling story. At present, the portrait sites of New Bedford and Barrow, Alaska are on-line, and it is anticipated that the website will soon grow to include portraits of the whaling communities in Hawaii, the Azores, Cap Verde, Japan and beyond.

Using the collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and its sister institutions across the country, the website presents a detailed portrait of life in each of the ports which contributed to the global whaling story. On-line visitors can read the sea journals of the whaling crews as well as the letters written to them by family members left behind, view vintage film footage of early 20th century whaling voyages, examine allegorical and historic paintings and objects depicting whaling scenes, and visit whale ships and the below-deck spaces through 360 degree virtual tours.

The website uses the latest technology to integrate content such as vintage film clips, 360-degree explorations of environments and objects, animations, sound effects, and interactive images. The website was built using Macromedia Flash to create rich interactive content that is stimulating and appealing to the on-line visitor. The goal of the website was to tell the stories and bring forward the voices of those men, women and children who spent so many years of their lives at sea.