The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Moby-Dick Marathon is an annual non-stop reading of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. The multi-day program of entertaining activities and events is presented every January. Admission to the Marathon is free.

Marathoner's Checklist

Jan 9, 2011 2:58 AMFor your consideration, the fruit of a collective twenty Moby-Dick Marathons... 

What to Bring
  • A copy of Moby-Dick, of course.  Several editions of M-D are available in the Museum Gift Shop. The MDM also has a few copies to loan.
  • Warm, layered clothing, with a cap.  The Museum is kept at a comfortable temperature, but one's metabolism ebbs in the wee hours.
  • A pillow or pad to sit on. The Museum's chairs are hard plastic.
  • Foam sleeping pad and/or sleeping bag.  The corridors and classrooms adjacent to the Harbor View Gallery are the de facto crash areas after the Museum's exhibits close for the night. Consider bringing a sleep mask (and earplugs)—the overhead lights stay on.
  • Your favorite Web-enabled device.  The Museum makes its WiFi network available during Marathons.  Some power-outlets are available.  Best to bring a power-strip or multi-tap so you can share the power.
  • Snacks, preferably unspillable, in quiet wrappers. Reasonably priced food and drinks are available Saturday afternoon/evening.  Coffee, tea, and possibly cider, are available through the night. Bring some cash, or you can bring your own food.
  • Water bottle you can refill from the drinking fountain, or bring enough bottled water to last you.
  • Camera (no flash, please)
  • Reading glasses, if you use them.
  • Medications & tissues, as required.
  • Notepad and pen, if you're prone to epiphanies.
  • Knitting/crochet gear. This is a popular pastime.
  • Toiletries, as required/desired.
  • Tote bag or backpack to hold everything. (As of 2018, backpacks and "oversized bags" are not permitted beyond museum lobby.)
  • Cash for donation boxes in the Museum and at the Seamen's Bethel.  Optional, but appreciated.

Arrive Before the Noontime Start
     Note: Try to make it to "Stump the Scholars" at 10 A.M. (sometimes 9:30).  "Call me Ish..." starts at noon.
  • Silence your electronics.
  • Make a contribution to the Whaling Museum for an MDM souvenir button ($5 in 2019, free in 2020).
  • 2020 Update: If you intend to stay in the Museum for the entire 25 hours, pick up the museum's information pamphlet which includes the "Moby-Dick Marathon Voyage Passport." Get your passport stamped every four hours at the reader check-in table, and you'll be rewarded with a nice souvenir at the end of the Marathon.
  • If you haven't pre-registered to read, consider signing up as a standby reader.

Relax & Enjoy.
    Most of the museum is open through the night. Tour the exhibits.
    Check out the parallel activities, particularly "Chat with Melville Scholars."