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History Camp Discussions
Thursday, August 1 @ 8 pm Eastern
Daniel Gifford
The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress

A rebroadcast of the discussion with Daniel Gifford, historian and author of The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress: New Bedford, Chicago, and the Twilight of an Industry. He discussed the journey of the Progress, an authentic whaler transformed into a whaling museum for Chicago’s 1893 world’s fair, symbolized the dying whaling industry in the Gilded Age.

From the Publisher:

The whaling bark Progress was a New Bedford ship transformed into a whaling museum for Chicago’s 1893 world’s fair. Traversing waterways across North America, the whaleship enthralled crowds from Montreal to Racine. Her ultimate fate, however, was to be a failed sideshow of marine curiosities and a metaphor for a dying industry out of step with Gilded Age America. This book uses the story of the Progress to detail the rise, fall, and eventual demise of the whaling industry in America. The legacy of this whaling bark can be found throughout New England and Chicago, and invites questions about what it means to transform a dying industry into a museum piece.

The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress has been featured in articles and interviews by the National Council on Public History; the Historically Thinking podcast with Al Zambone; NPR’s The Academic Minute; History Camp; the New Bedford Whaling Museum; and the Lakefront Historian (Loyola University).


“The central question Gifford grapples with concerns how a community — whalers in New Bedford, Massachusetts — attempted to fashion a particular narrative about itself for a national audience…Gifford rightly turns our attention to the tricky work of memorializing and remembering an industry and a way of life. As Gifford reminds us, this is not a story unique to Gilded Age whalers, but one shared by all laborers caught up in industrial transitions.” –The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

“Gifford is one of those desirable authors who expertly combine academic information and study with a style of writing that is inviting and compatible with a reader of any background or education level. He expresses notions about the whaling industry, the history of the Progress itself, and the events surrounding the exhibition at the World’s Fair in a way that is easy to follow, understand, and appreciate…Gifford ‘s book is an excellent addition to any personal or professional library.” — The Northern Mariner

“Not only is this volume of interest to readers wanting to know more about the whaling industry, but this book is also a case study for museum designers. The Progress’s history, the story of a whaling ship–how to display and interpret a past that has become more myth than reality, how to provide an educational experience, and make it alive and interesting–offers museum curators a case study to learn from. This book is sure to captivate a variety of readers.” — Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Join us at HistoryCamp.org/discussions for this free event and watch replays of earlier interviews, presentations, and discussions.

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History Camp® events presented by The Pursuit of History®

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