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Check out more great National Parks Service Web Rangers Activities!

If possible visit the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Massachusetts.

The following is a worksheet to help students navigate the Web Rangers: New Bedford Whaling Activity. The answers are written in bold.

You will be exploring a whaling port from the 1850s. (decade)years

Whales were an important resource for everyday living. Below are 3 different parts of the whale. List the product for each part.

Whale Spermaceti oiled machines

Whale oil lit the homes and streets of America and much of the world.

Whale Bone shaped the fashion of the Victorian Age


TOWN: For each “define” word, write a detailed definition.

Bank: List 3 different reasons banks would lend money to people: paying for a whaling voyage, opening a business, or buying a house.

Sail Loft (Define): A large open space for where sails are made for ships. Sails are hand sewn from very large pieces of cloth.

Counting House (Define): is where whaling merchants keep track of money they have spent and money they made during a whaling voyage.

Barrels: List the items that barrels hold: whale oil, water, and food

Boarding House (Define): where sailors and workers stay if their homes are far away.

How did a Boarding House assist slaves? Sometimes boarding house owners helped slaves that had escaped from the south by offering them a room at no cost.

List the 3 functions of the Custom House: The Custom House is where government officials work, taxes are paid, and seamen get protection papers that identify them by name and country.

Blacksmith: Explain the significance of Lewis Temple, an African American blacksmith. He owned his own shop and invented the toggle iron. It was known as the most important invention in 1800s whaling.

Stable: What were two different means of transportation? Walking or riding a horse and buggy.

Mansion: Who lived in mansions? Mostly shipowners and merchants.

Candleworks: An oil refinery and candleworks is where the whale oil is processed into finished goods such as candles and clean oil used to light lamps. Whale oil was also used to oil machinery, guns, and clocks. .

Small House: Who lived in small houses? Working class families.

Chapel: When would whalemen often visit the Chapel? Many whalemen visited a chapel before heading out on a voyage.

What whaleship did Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, sail on? Acushnet in 1841 .


Inspect your Ship


What are the 3 classes of seamen?

You are hired as a “.                              .“ hand. Since it is your 1st voyage you are signed on as a “.                              .“


Define “Box the compass”


Define “Learning the ropes”




How long is it before you find a whale?


What is yelled to alert you?


What do you do in order to catch the whale?


What type of rollercoaster ride will you go on next?.                                                               .


How does the harpooner finish the job?


To the Azores


What does your ship need in the Azores?


What language is spoken here and how do you understand it?


Stormy Seas


You survived the storm with little damage! Huzzah! What might you pick up in Cape Verde?


To Cape Verde


Why is your captain able to purchase two small whaling boats?


What was the motivation for many young men to leave Cape Verde?


“There was no choice but to take a chance.” Why did the Cape Verdean seaman feel this?



What is “scrimshaw?”


To the Sandwich Islands


How long have you been at sea?


To the Arctic


Where is your destination?


Why is the summer the best time to be travelling here?

Why must you proceed with caution?


To Barrow, Alaska


What are the 3 ways the Inupiat men help you?


Do you have any interest in staying with the Inupiat? Explain your reasoning!

How long was the entire trip?


What is the last thing you do before returning home?


Ship’s Earnings

Ship’s expenses

Captain’s earnings (1/12th)

Your earnings (1/175th)