Programs & Events

April programs have been rescheduled or canceled. Please look for us on social media instead this month!


Rescheduled for August 2020
Talk: Daniel Drayton & Photius Fisk
George Kontanis, RJD Docent
Daniel Drayton became known for helping enslaved individuals escape to northern ports in the early-to-mid 1800s. He is now buried in New Bedford’s Rural Cemetery, where his monument has been recently restored. Several men, including Photius Fisk, had a role in Drayton’s honoring. Hear more about the life of Drayton and Fisk’s efforts to remember him. Part of AHA Night. Free.

Sunday, May 17, 2pm
House Tour
Enjoy a one-hour guided tour of the Rotch-Jones-Duff mansion. Tours are conducted by various RJD Docents and staff. Free with the price of admission.

Tuesday, May 26, 7pm
Annual Student Jazz Concert
New Bedford High School Whaler Jazz Band and Jazz Combo, Directed by Tim Mason; The Global Learning Charter Public School Jazz Ensemble, Directed by Donald Richard, Music Director

The New Bedford High School Whaler Jazz Band is an auditioned musical that plays different styles of improvised music such as swing, funk, rock, Latin, and vocal jazz in traditional “big band” settings. The New Bedford High School Whaler Jazz combo is an advanced musical group that plays swing, funk, rock, Latin, and vocal jazz in small ensemble settings using advanced improvisation techniques. The GLCPS Jazz Ensemble performs an eclectic mix of jazz, Latin, and modern band musical styles. This concert is held under the tent, rain or shine. Free.


Thursday, June 11, 5:30pm
Exhibition Opening
View RJD’s newest special exhibition of needlework. Refreshments served. Part of AHA Night. Free.



Saturday, June 20 – Save the Date for RJD’s Newest Social Event

Friday, June 26, 7pm
Poetry Reading
Join Domesticated Primate and Anomaly Poetry for the release of their Summer 2020 anthology, Rituals. Anomaly Poetry will host a curated reading featuring local poets in the RJD gardens. Domesticated Primate will have copies of the freshly published Rituals for sale during the event. Fee: $3.

Tuesday, September 15, 5:30pm
History Happy Hour: The Herschel Island Baseball League
Mark Procknik, Librarian, New Bedford Whaling Museum
Get your baseball fix along with fun networking! RJD’s newest program offers a brief talk on a historical topic, along with tasty bites and beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards.  During Arctic whaling voyages when the winter ice made cruising for whales difficult, whalemen needed to pass the time until spring. During the winter of 1895, they formed an informal baseball league with scores and statistics recorded in a journal kept by Captain Hartson Bodfish. Purchase tickets on line:: $15 (includes refreshment)

Tuesday, September 29, 1pm
Harriet Jacobs In New Bedford
Talk and Book-Signing with Peggi Medeiros
In 1861, Harriet Ann Jacobs published a masterpiece, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Her book is the first and only narrative to give voice to a woman who escaped slavery. Cornelia Grinnell Willis not only purchased Harriet’s freedom, but she also developed a bond with Harriet and her daughter, Louisa, that lasted a lifetime. Both women suffered trauma as children and miraculously survived. They also had close ties to New Bedford that have not been examined previously. Cornelia married Nathaniel Parker Willis, considered an American Dickens during his lifetime though largely forgotten today. Join author and local historian Peggi Medeiros as she traces the fascinating lives of the Jacobs, Grinnell and Willis families in and out of New Bedford. Purchase tickets on line: $5 Members / $8 Public / Free with purchase of book.

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, October 16, 2020
The Second Annual: Mystery at the Mansion

Card to Culture is a collaboration between the Mass Cultural Council and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Department of Transitional Assistance. The RJD is happy to honor FREE admission for four to all guests who present a valid EBT card.See full details at

Education Programs are funded by the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Charitable Foundation.


The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum
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