There's some good news for a local history project that's been announced. The New Bedford Port Society and New Bedford Whaling Museum have entered into an agreement that leases the ground floor of the Port Society-owned Mariners' Home to the Museum for the display of Museum artifacts related to local maritime history. The exhibitions will feature the New Bedford fishing fleet across three centuries, the danger that fishermen face on a daily basis, Herman Melville's influence on New Bedford and the history and members of the Port Society that is the oldest not-for-profit organization in the Commonwealth.

This latest collaboration between the two longtime partners is expected to open in the spring of 2017. The historic 1832 Seamen's Bethel and adjacent 1787 Mariner's Home are being completely restored to maintain the historic fabric of the structures and to make them handicap accessible. The chapel will continue to be available for weddings, baptisms and memorials. The second and third floors of the Mariners' Home will house the Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE) and other non-profits, and the Bethel will remain an events space with an education room in the Saltbox for lectures and children's activities.

The Port Society needs to raise additional funds because as the construction work turned out to be more extensive than expected due to the age of the buildings. There is a raffle with 100 chances for a cruise for $100 per ticket. Contact Fred Toomey at 508-999-5409 or Bruce Oliveira at 508-873-5775. To contribute, make checks payable to the Port Society Complex Fund or visit www.seamensbethel.org.