It would take months of sea travel, extensive scuba certifications, and fluency in several crustacean dialects to find—let alone interact with—all the creatures found in Ocean Explorium's interactive exhibits. The science center emphasizes environmental stewardship and scientific literacy through several educational habitats such as touch tanks of local aquatic wildlife—including New Bedford's world-famous scallops and schools of rays and sharks. The Living Laboratory exhibit brings visitors face to face with sea creatures such as baby sharks, shark egg cases, coral farm, and moon jellies. Beyond the up-close encounters with denizens of the deep, Ocean Explorium also enlightens patrons with a variety of non-living displays. The Explorer's Zone presents scientific experiments that reveal the workings of the natural world through hands-on exhibits themed around different weekly topics, and Discovery Bay enthralls children aged eight or younger with games, puzzles, and a sand and water table. Advanced computers construct a three-dimensional image of our home planet as it appears from outer space in the Science on a Sphere exhibit, displaying global weather patterns in real time or replaying natural phenomena from history, such as the time it rained men.
For the past 15 years, The New Bedford Art Museum has dressed up downtown New Bedford with a seasonally changing collection of visual stimuli from local, national, and international artists—all presented within a former bank that still contains two vintage vaults. Pamela Calore's Time Has Left Its Mark explores the haunting remnants of abandoned local factories and the Rhode Island System that governed the lives of its workers. New Bedford Through the Lens, meanwhile, charts the city's changes over time through photographs or a feature film, depending on how fast attendees sprint past the photographs. The New Bedford Art Museum is open Wednesday–Sunday.
Thanks to lines such as Royal Flemish and Crown Milano, the city of New Bedford rightfully earned the nickname “Art Glass Headquarters of the Country” by the late 19th century. With 7,000 objects to its name, The New Bedford Museum of Glass not only celebrates the area’s rich heritage, but also spans more than 3,000 years of worldwide glassmaking history. Through its permanent collection and rotating exhibits, the museum highlights everything from Victorian glass syrup bottles to 19th-century glass cigar holders. Our Nation’s Heritage in Glass encompasses 500-plus pieces of American-themed glass, including Bicentennial glass and the glass teeth George Washington wore in battle. Along with its rich displays, the museum’s in-house libraries delves deeper into global glassmaking with more than 8,000 volumes in 10 languages.
With its lofty ceilings, slate floors, natural wood beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows that give sunlight some rare exposure to high culture, the building that houses the Fuller Craft Museum is itself a work of art. The 21,000-square-foot structure is surrounded by a 22-acre campus, which is itself surrounded by some 700 acres of woodland. It's a place to easily lose an afternoon in exploration and contemplation.
Across this wide-open space, creativity flows naturally. Exhibitions, galleries, and workshops showcase the mesmerizing craftsmanship of woodworking, sculpture, bookmaking, and many other forms, exploring the materials, techniques, and expression poured into each piece. Interactive attractions draw visitors deeper into the creative process. Letterboxing, for instance, challenges them to search the property for hidden treasures by following clues instead of just lazily asking a neighborhood pirate.