A whale of a time at American Museum




The Susan of Nantucket scrimshaw* is one of the Museum’s most fascinating objects.  The delicately carved sperm whale tooth has an image of the 19th century whaling ship, beneath which is the grisly inscription:

Death to the living, long live the killers

Success to sailor’s wives and greasy luck to whalers. 

The object serves as a stark reminder of both the brutality of the whaling industry and its importance to the American economy during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Museum is delighted that author, presenter and champion-of-the-whalePhilip Hoare will be discussing

America’s troubled relationship with these giants of the deep in his talk Leviathan: America and the Whale on 18 July at the Museum.  Philip’s book Leviathan or, The Whale, won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction and he recently wrote and presented

the BBC Arena film The Hunt for Moby Dick.  He is also the curator, with Angela Cockayne of Bath Spa University, of the on-line rendition of Melville’s classic, at www.mobydickbigread.com.

His new book, The Sea Inside, explores his own encounters with whales in the context of this rich history. 

The American Museum at Claverton Down.
The American Museum at Claverton Down.


This talk has been organised in partnership with Chippenham-based charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).  Philip will be exploring the history of American whaling, the impact it has had on American art and culture (Moby Dick etc.) and the future of whales and dolphins in American waters. 

He will be signing copies of his new book after the talk.

Thursday 18 July, 6 pm

Admission: £7 (£5 for Museum members)

To book, please call 01225 820866 or e-mail: workshops@americanmuseum.org

Organised in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)