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Winter/Spring 2023
Whaling City Women Museum Highlights Tours
Tour the New Bedford Whaling Museum through the lens of women’s history. Visit a variety of exhibits with a docent who will highlight the often-overlooked stories of the women who contributed to New Bedford’s history. The tour features more than a dozen women profiled on Lighting the Way. See the Museum in a whole new way!

Winter 2023
Ignite 2023: A Youth Showcase of Art Inspired by Historic Women of the SouthCoast
This special exhibit showcased artworks from local students inspired by Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast. It featured paintings, collages, and drawings of more than 20 young artists in grades 4 through 11. Their artworks reflected the inspiration of activists Elizabeth Piper Ensley and Archangela Fortes, entrepreneurs Polly Johnson and Sue Wong, educators Carrie Lee and Marial Harper, and more.


Spring 2022
Ignite 2022: A Youth Showcase of Art Inspired by Historic Women of the SouthCoast
This special exhibit showcased artworks from local students inspired by Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast. The showcase featured paintings and drawings from more than 20 young artists in grades 4 through 12. Their artworks reflect the inspiration of abolitionists Polly Johnson and Harriet Jacobs, labor activists Eulalia Mendes and Laurinda Andrade, artists Cecil Clark Davis and Nancy Holt, and more. 

July 2021 – May 2022
Shaping the SouthCoast: Women of Lighting the Way 
A special exhibit at New Bedford Whaling Museum featuring remarkable, historic women who shaped their SouthCoast communities, the nation, and the world. 

Winter 2022
Lifelong Learning: Celebrating Women & Work
Make friends, share stories, and learn! LifeLong Learners are invited to join us for an 8-session program celebrating women’s work. Explore treasures in the Whaling Museum’s collection made by women, learn about women who “made it” in the traditional male-dominated workforce, and investigate women’s handiwork in the home.


October 24, 2021
Blazing the Trail: Women Lighting the Way
Tri-County Symphonic Band and Lighting the Way: Historic Women of SouthCoast have developed a fresh perspective on where women are now and how they have achieved numerous milestones over the years. During Blazing the Trail, local women will take the podium to illustrate stories of our trailblazers.

Summer 2021
Guided Walking Tours
Join New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Rangers and Whaling Museum docents to explore New Bedford history through the stories of four women of action. Meet fishing industry advocate Harriet Didriksen, Civil War nurse Martha Bush Gray, philanthropist Sarah Rotch Arnold, and international translator Lydia Grinnell Brown. Discover a side of history that you might not have known before.

March 2021
Ignite 2021
In March 2021, young artists from throughout the community created original artworks that highlight the legacies of women who mobilized residents of “The City that Lit the World” to create positive change. These artworks were reviewed and selected by a panel of judges for their relevance, creativity, and originality.


September 17, 2020
Women of Color Lighting the Way to Equality
This online panel discussion showcased the rich legacy of civic engagement of women, especially women of color and young adults. Headlined by Dr. Premilla Nadasen, Professor of History at Barnard College and OAH Distinguished Lecturer, and featuring local civically engaged female panelists, the discussion highlighted ways that women of color have historically organized to address inequity for women, and how they continue to address issues of class, race, and other oppressions.

March 12, 2020
Ignite Showcase 2020
Young artists from throughout the community showcased original artworks at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The artworks highlighted the themes, accomplishments, or stories amplified through Lighting the Way profiles.

Lighting The Way Commemorates The Women’s Suffrage Centennial
2020 marked the 100th Anniversary of Congress ratifying the 19th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which made it illegal to prevent a woman from voting based on her sex. Lighting the Way commemorated the women’s suffrage centennial and its unfinished legacy all year, and celebrated the fact that Massachusetts ratified the amendment a year earlier on June 25, 1919.

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