Old Dartmouth Historical Society

aka New Bedford Whaling Museum   |   New Bedford, MA   |  www.whalingmuseum.org

Mission

The New Bedford Whaling Museum ignites learning through explorations of art, history, science and culture rooted in the stories of people, the region and an international seaport.

Ruling year info

1932

President & CEO

Amanda D. McMullen

Main address

18 Johnny Cake Hill

New Bedford, MA 02740 USA

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EIN

04-2104805

NTEE code info

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Education

Currently the Museum offers 13 standards-based elementary and middle school programs designed to enhance student understanding of their shared heritage, cultural diversity, local history, ecology and marine science. All programs are certified to address Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum/ Common Core Frameworks and National Science Standards.

The Museum’s High School Apprenticeship Program is designed to help economically disadvantaged New Bedford students graduate from high school and go on to college, a trade school, or the military while providing valuable life skills and work experience. Of the 36 students who have completed the program since its inception in 2010, 100% graduated high school and 100% were accepted into college. The program has continued to evolve since 2010 and will expand in the next year to increase the Museum’s impact on local youth.

The Museum has delivered educational services to the Greater New Bedford region since 1903. One hundred forty volunteers, including 80 Docents, support a staff of 28, working under the direction of a diverse community-based Board of Trustees of 30. Evolving from traditional museum exhibits to curriculum-correlated field trips, to interactive online learning experiences, the Museum's education offerings increase their impact on students and on the teaching in local schools each year.

New and redesigned educational initiatives allow the Museum to fulfill its goal of improving outcomes from elementary and middle school programs. These improvements will help the Museum better serve students and teachers in the New Bedford region, and beyond who currently participate in our programs, and also attract new school groups.

The recommendations for change came out of deep conversations with and feedback from community partners, teachers and educators from across the region, administrators in the New Bedford Public School system and civic leaders. As State and Federal education reform efforts focus on core reading and math skills, the role of third party education providers like the Museum is changing. The Museum has increased its commitment to providing deeper learning: research, writing and digital media creation skill development and teacher training, to supplement the more focused school programs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of free admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2020 COVID-19 Shut down and capacity limit requirements dramatically reduced both paid and free admissions.

Total number of paid admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2020 COVID-19 Shut down and capacity limit requirements dramatically reduced both paid and free admissions.

Percentage of students in the Museum's high school apprentice program who graduate from high school

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of graduating students of the Museum's high school apprentice program who are accepted to college

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As the region's first purpose-built historical attraction, the New Bedford Whaling Museum continues as the preeminent cultural ambassador for the community. It teaches lessons about many pressing global issues, including the consequences of natural resource depletion, entrepreneurialism and the diversification of industry, and the need for tolerance and understanding in a multicultural society. The role the museum plays in its second century is no less important than the role it played one hundred years ago. In studying the history of the region (Old Dartmouth), we can learn to understand and appreciate the complex forces that shaped the past, that echo with remarkable urgency today, and that will help inform a sustainable future.

The Board of Trustees believes we have a societal obligation to help improve the lives of people in the region, and that the Museum is in a unique position to do so. The Board believes that the Museum can best contribute to this core purpose through a reaffirmation of its investment in educational activities.

The Board has agreed on these Institutional strategies for 2014-2019:
• Keen attention to financial management and careful stewardship of our valuable resources including personnel, collections and campus;
• Emphasis on the museum's role as an educational institution, thus guiding program development & exhibit design;
• Continued responsiveness to a community-centric approach to programs, social service and civic engagement, often in concert with local partners;
• Encouragement of entrepreneurial thinking, linking program development to revenue streams;
• Attraction and engagement of new audiences by creating new “points of access";
• Create a sense of rediscovery by framing the whaling story in a global, historical and societal context with relevance and context for audiences today;
• Strengthen a sense of identity by reinforcing the four centuries of stories, both on land and on water, germane to the Old Dartmouth region.

Management and trustees recognize that our core competency is the unique combination of service, product and place that together creates an experience that delivers exceptional and differentiating value to the customer. The combination of specialized knowledge and skills, together with, a deep and expansive collection, and a rootedness in the South coast (historically Old Dartmouth) creates the conditions for success.

Underpinning programmatic growth is a commitment to a conservative fiscal strategy and to the assurance of best practices and transparency expected of a vibrant institution. For the past 10 years, management put in place a balanced operating plan that aims to grow programs and exhibitions, seek out new sources of financial support and earned revenue, maximize operational efficiency, and ensure the vigilant oversight of the endowment such that it continues to provide support for operations. In addition, management and trustees committed to consolidate operations onto a single campus with the construction of the Wattles Jacobs Education Center. Strong financials are a testament to the concerted efforts of management, staff, and volunteers to maintain cost efficiencies in programs and operations and to their determined commitment to our mission and goals.

This success can be measured by positive year-end operating results, zero debt, and continued growth in net assets. The annual audit was conducted and the auditor issued a “clean opinion". In summary, the Museum is financially stronger than ever. All of the above is accomplished by a relatively small staff of 30 full time employees, supported by a robust 150 strong volunteer corps with oversight from an active and engaged Board of Trustees.

“Build capacity, embrace change" is our motto. Quite literally the changes to the museum campus are systemic, transformative, and liberating. The capital campaign created the conditions whereby, from Johnny Cake Hill to Captain Paul Cuffe Park, the visitor experience is indispensably and irrefutably improved.

It is worth reviewing the circumstances that dictated a decision to embark on a campaign three years ago. There were five overlapping reasons for the endeavor: expanded programmatic thrusts were putting stress on existing spaces and demanding growth; trustees made the strategic decision to move operations out of the Purchase Street Research Library (four blocks away) and consolidate all assets and personnel on the Johnny Cake Hill campus; trustees and major donors indicated support for the effort; staff was seasoned and had capacity and knowledge to run sophisticated back-to-back campaigns; and the organization was in a debt-free position, managing finances with aplomb.

We must capitalize on our investment because success breeds success. The completion of the recent capital campaign, and in record time, should give confidence and hope to all who believe in community enrichment. For generations to come our decisions and actions today will be appreciated and utilized to maximum benefit.

Financials

Old Dartmouth Historical Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Old Dartmouth Historical Society

Board of directors
as of 8/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anthony Sapienza

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/23/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data