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Moby Dick Read-Aloud Marathon: New Bedford Whaling Museum

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Venue:New Bedford Whaling Museum
Dates:Friday, January 3, 2020 - Sunday, January 5, 2020
Hours:Hours Vary see below
Cost:Free see below
Category:Books & Poetry
moby dick read-aloud marathon new bedford whaling museum photoJoin us for the annual read-a-thon of America’s most iconic novel, Moby-Dick.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop public reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events.

An experience you don’t want to miss, you’ll relive the famous, action-packed narrative and be transported back in time on the search for the elusive white whale.

Our annual event started in 1997 and is now considered one of the world’s best known readathons.

Every year, early in January, a local celebrity figure traditionally kicks-off the reading, beginning with the most famous opening line in American literature, 'Call me Ishmael.'

From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, more than 150 readers each read a short passage from this novel. Some read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and/or French, followed by that same passage in English. One passage is read from Braille.

Readers include professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, students, congressmen, mayors, city councillors, journalists, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick.

In addition to the main event, the Whaling Museum hosts two mini-marathons on January 5: a Portuguese-language reading of Tiago Patricio’s abridged Moby-Dick, and a children’s version by Classic Starts.

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 3
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm Moby-Dick Marathon Opening Night

Kick off this year’s Moby-Dick Marathon by enjoying a meal well-suited for hungry sailors and a lively presentation by Mary K. Bercaw, Melville Scholar, titled Herman Melville: Sailor, Writer, Metaphysician, followed by a Q&A.

TICKETED EVENT: Limited seating available. Must purchase tickets by December 30.
Purchase Tickets Online or call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100
Members $45 | Non-Members: $55 | Volunteers: $30

Saturday, January 4
From 9:30 am Saturday to 1 pm Sunday*
All Saturday and Sunday events are free and open to the public. Guests may come and go as needed through the Museum’s main entrance.

9:30 am Stump the Scholars
Bring your most challenging Melville-related questions and try to stump Melville scholars. Cook Memorial Theater (Lower Level)

10 am Children’s Mini-Marathon
Harbor View Gallery (Upper Level)

11:30 am Extracts
Read by members of the Melville Society Cultural Project. Bourne Building (Main Level)

12 noon The Main Attraction
Bourne Building (Main Level)

1:30 pm Father Mapple’s Sermon
Seamen’s Bethel (Reserved seating at Bethel and livestream in Cook Memorial Theater)

2:15 pm Main Marathon Continues
Harbor View Gallery (Upper Level)

2:30 pm Chat with Melville Scholars
Wattles Family Gallery (Lower Level)

3 pm Portuguese Marathon
Bourne Building (Main Level)

5 pm – 9 pm Cousin Hosea’s Chowder Hall and the Decanter Taproom
Recharge and warm up with New Bedford’s best soups and brews. Jacobs Family Gallery (Lower Level)

7 pm Midnight on the Forecastle (chapter 40)
Performed by Culture*Park. Cook Memorial Theater (Lower Level)

Sunday, January 5
8 am The 20th-Hour Treat
Get fueled up for the home stretch. Classroom (Main Level)

9:30 am Chat with Melville scholars
Wattles Family Gallery (Lower Level)

1 pm The Last Chapter
The final words are read and prizes are given out to the hearty souls who stayed for the entire marathon. Harbor View Gallery (Upper Level)

*Times are approximate and are dependent on the reading pace of the Marathon.

The expanded weekend of activities will offer something for everyone, but reading aloud and celebrating Melville remain at the heart of the event. Reservations to read are limited. Call (508) 997-0046, ext. 149.

HOURS↑ top

Check the website for more details.

COST↑ top

Admission for the entire event is free




18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA map
Phone: 508-997-0046


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