The Whaling Museum – Cold Spring Harbor, New York - Atlas Obscura

The Whaling Museum

Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Whale bones, scrimshaw, and sperm oil make up just a part of this comprehensive collection of whaling history. 


A long history of huge animals is crammed into the gorgeous Long Island scrimshaw temple known simply as The Whaling Museum. 

For many years, whaling was the principal industry of Long Island, New York. The tiny, well-appointed Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbour, tells the tale of this now long vanished industry. Started in the 1940s, the museum’s collection includes over 6,000 artifacts, including harpoons, an original 19th century whaling boat, whaling equipment, and an abundance of sailor’s scrimshaw work. Rare whale products such as Sperm Oil, Ambergris, and even an entire Sperm Whale’s jaw explore the actual beasts that were the victim of the industry. There is also a fascinating primary source archive of ship’s logs, journals, and business documents giving an insight into the maritime history of Long Island.  

The Whaling Museum is tucked away in a quaint New England town, but they sponsor or administer a number of educational and promotional events each year, making sure that the area’s past, however controversial, will not be forgotten anytime soon.   


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