Although the pew where Melville prayed is identified and the pulpit is now identical to the one in the Gregory Peck movie, these are really just marketing points. Seaman's Bethel is right near the New Bedford Whaling Museum (which you should definitely see). Seaman's Bethel is also worth a visit. It is quiet as befits a church. It's reeks history. As you walk through it, the first level is where ordinary seaman would go to attend classes or even to sober up. There are laminated pages to read and leave. The room above is the actual church area. Read the centopaths along the walls. They are memorials to a few of those who lost their lives to the sea. Some are heartbreaking; some are descriptive; some have humor. They give a bit of life to these sailors even after death. The stucture itself is preserved pretty much as it was. They were testing some of the paint on the walls when we were there. I understand there is some sailor lore that says ships shouldn't be painted blue. But underneath these paint samples it looks like the walls and bannisters of Seamen's Bethel might have had skyblue paint originally.
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