The most wonderful thing about New Bedford's annual Moby Dick Marathon is that it is open to any and all conceptions of Moby Dick. Childlike awe is welcomed, encouraged, and cultivated, alongside intellectual discourse and conversations about the role of whaling in New Bedford through the lens of cultural history. Over the course of two days in January 2011, I was able to have conversations with Moby Dick scholars, casual enthusiasts, high school students staying overnight on a teacher's recommendation, local luminaries, and even Herman Melville's great-great grandson. I plunged into Melville's historical moment while surrounded by a choir of voices in the Bethel Chapel, and emerged shortly afterwards to be reminded of the Museum's proximity to the heart of a contemporary city. I will not forget scanning the industrial Bay of New Bedford from the Museum's veranda with annual participant Natalie Hemingway. Gulls screamed overhead, and the choppy bay sparkled blue against snowy cobbled streets and a forest of spindly ship masts.
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