If you're interested in learning about whaling, this is a really good museum to check out. We spent about 2-3 hours walking through the museum and checking out all of the exhibits. They have several whale skeletons (it's amazing to see how big one was), and a half size model of an old whaling ship. They have good exhibits (and videos) explaining how whaling was done, how dangerous it was, and why whales were hunted. I had 2 favorite exhibits in the museum. One was a scrimshaw exhibit -- I found it intriguing to see how whale bones were used in various everyday items, and how scrimshaw was used to decorate those things. In addition, it was really interesting to see what whale oil and whale by-products were used to make. The admission price is a little expensive - about $14/adult, but they do offer free admission for military members and reducted admission for seniors, children, and students. The museum gift shop also has some nice items. Further, the museum exhibit includes several references to the book "Moby Dick" - after a visit to this museum, you'll want to either re-read it, or read it for the first time.
Further, there are exhibits in the museum explaining the Portuguese influence in New Bedford and how it came about as a result of the whaling activity. After a day at the museum, it's easy to walk to one of any number of Portuguese restaurants for lunch, which is a unique and fun experience. The museum is located in a historic area that you can tell New Bedford has done a lot to "revitalize" and "gentrify" in the last several years. As a whole, they've done a great job. The cobble stone streets and restored old homes, churches, and government buildings are beautiful. From the top floor of the museum, you can look out and see the many fishing boats in the harbor, and it's like seeing something out of a postcard - very picturesque.
While there are some "sketchy" areas of New Bedford that it's wise to avoid, the historic district and the Whaling Museum, in particular, are well worth a visit.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.