I've always said that sometimes you need to go on vacation in your backyard. For example, I'm one of the biggest history buffs going in my age group. I drag my kids on vacation to Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Reagan Presidential Library. I've traveled to Stonehenge and to Versailles, but I grew up in the Boston suburbs and never walked the Freedom Trail, visited the Kennedy Library, or visited Paul Revere's house.

I have no explanation. These things are accessible to me virtually every day of my life, but I've never been there.

This is why I encourage you to take advantage of something coming up at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. The Monday of school vacation week, April 19 (Patriot's Day), the New Bedford Whaling Museum is offering free admission, thanks to the Highland Street Foundation and the Patriots Foundation. Reservations for free admission tickets can be made online beginning Thursday, April 15.

Get our free mobile app

This is an opportunity for families to take advantage of a wonderful offer from the foundations, but more importantly, a terrific excuse to get out there and learn more about our city's rich history, and how the whaling industry played such a key role in shaping it.

I've casually toured the Whaling Museum several times, and I always find that I learn something new. I enjoy sharing these anecdotes with others in the community, and I'm sure you and your family will, too.

The museum has taken a number of steps to help keep visitors and staff safe during the pandemic. It has installed UVC air purification systems, which reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. There is also around-the-clock cleaning and disinfecting in place. Timed-entry tickets help staff limit the number of people in the building at any given time, allowing for easier social distancing.

Old Superstitions That Sailors Believed at Sea

The 15 Coolest Lighthouses Along the SouthCoast and Cape Cod

COME ABOARD: This New Bedford Airbnb Yacht Is Boujee and Affordable