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NEW BEDFORD – The Whaling Museum in New Bedford last week announced a $1.8 million gift that the museum says will allow it to construct a new building on its campus in addition to expanding educational programs, The Standard-Times reported.
The four-year grant came from museum benefactors Irwin and Joan Jacobs. It will be administered by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. The grant was given with the recommendation that it be used to construct a new education center and research library in the vacant lot between the museum and Sundial Building on Water Street.
Irwin Jacobs, a New Bedford native, is the CEO emeritus of technology giant Qualcomm. The Jacobs now live in La Jolla, Calif., but return to the Whaling City annually to award scholarships to local students.
The building is as-yet unnamed. It would quadruple classroom space, add a research and reading room and provide space for Azorean whaleboat craftsmen. The added space also would consolidate Whaling Museum staff in one place, allowing officials to sell off the museum’s Purchase Street building.
The new building is part of a $10 million capital campaign started by the museum’s trustees in 2011, The Standard-Time reported. Officials expect the construction project, which includes infrastructure upgrades to the existing buildings, to cost $5 million, with the rest of the money going toward creating an endowment. The museum has reached 80 percent of its $10 million goal.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and continue for a year, the newspaper said. •