The annual Nautical Research Guild conference is a one-of-a-kind event that combines model ship making and maritime history.  The three-day conference includes incredible speakers on a range of topics, hands-on round tables, tours of amazing venues and museums, and an unmatched opportunity to interact with other model makers and nautical enthusiasts.

Every year, the Nautical Research Guild hosts this event a different location.  The 2019 conference is being held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts   

In addition to all the conference events, you’ll have access to the museum for the duration of the conference, giving you a great opportunity to take in all the exhibits.

If you’ve never been to an NRG conference, or if you haven’t been in a few years, this is the year to go!  We’ve got a packed schedule of amazing presentations and activities and we’re expecting a great turnout!  Register today for the conference and secure your spot!

Quick Facts

Event Dates
Thursday, October 24, 2019 (tours)
Friday, October 25, 2019 (sessions and banquet)
Saturday, October 26, 2019 (sessions)

New Bedford, Massachusetts
Fairfield Inn and Suites New Bedford
185 MacArthur Dr.
New Bedford, MA 02740

Register Today!

To register for the conference and secure your spot, download and complete the registration form.  You may mail your completed registration form with payment to the NRG office, or contact us to register by phone or email using the information provided on the registration form.

Be sure to register and book your hotel rooms early!  

Hotel Information

The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a popular place overlooking the water and a short walk from the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The hotel features free breakfast and free internet.  

Reservations may be changed or cancelled 48 hours prior to arrival.  If you’re considering attending the conference, book early before space runs out!

Fairfield Inn and Suites New Bedford
185 MacArthur Dr.
New Bedford, MA 02740

Advanced reservations are required to get the conference rate.  
It is highly recommended that reservations should be made by phone. The hotel has had some issues with their on-line reservation system telling members that rooms are not available. Avoid the issue and call by phone. 

For reservations starting before Wednesday, October 23, 2019 or staying later than Sunday, October 27, 2019:  Reservations MUST be made by calling the hotel directly at 774-634-2000.  Do not use the corporate number.

For reservations starting on October 23, 2019 and ending on October 27, 2019:  You can get the discounted rate by booking through the NRG’s event page with the hotel by clicking here.


The 2019 NRG Conference features a great lineup of speakers on a range of topics.  The schedule is almost finalized and already includes some great presentations.  

Friday’s lineup includes technical sessions that provide practical information model making techniques, while Saturday’s schedule includes sessions on general topics and maritime history.

Whether you’re an experienced veteran model maker or a novice who is just starting out, you’ll find the presentations informative, easy to follow, and incredibly valuable.  You’ll hear great insight from subject matter experts, learn practical tips, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Friday Technical Sessions

Toni Levine
Toni Levine will discuss planking model ships.  As a special addition, her lecture will use the soon-to-be-released NRG’s half hull modeling project as a subject.  Not only will you get great information on planking, you’ll also get a chance to see this great upcoming project.

Ron Neilson
Ron Neilson will discuss techniques and tips for making sails for model ships.  Learn practical information about how to create great looking sails at scale.

Mitch Michelson
Mitch Michelson will provide techniques for sharpening carving tools.

Saturday General Sessions

Michael Dyer 
The curator of the New Bedford Whaling Museum will speak concerning the ship model and half hull collections of the Museum.

Evelyn Ansel 
Evelyn Ansel will discuss the Haffenreffer-Herreshoff digitization project at the MIT Museum and the online resources it offers to ship modelers.

Dr. D. K. Abbass 
We are very pleased to announce that Dr. D.K. Abbass with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) will be presenting to our group.  RIMAP is the not-for-profit organization which has been researching the fleet of thirteen British transports scuttled in Newport, RI’s outer harbor in 1778 during the American Revolution.  Archaeological and historical evidence seems to indicate the transport Lord Sandwich in that sunken fleet had been Captain Cook’s Endeavor bark on his first circumnavigation of the world.  Dr. Abbass will present her latest findings regarding the identity of the Lord Sandwich/Endeavor.

Walter Ansel
Mystic Seaport staff member Walter Ansel will discuss the development of the whale boat and the construction of the whale boat.

David Antscherl
The Harbour Hoy Hayling; the model of an unusual subject.

Round Tables

One of the most popular events at past NRG conferences returns again for 2019!  Friday’s schedule includes a series of round table discussions that give you an intimate setting to learn new skills, ask questions, and interact with other attendees and experts.

Each round table is led by an expert, and features interactive discussion, questions and answers, and hands-on demonstrations. Each group is kept small to ensure the discussion is intimate and focused.

Round tables let you sign up for specific topics and session leaders to let you tailor your conference experience to match your interests.  You’ll have the opportunity to attend multiple round tables, and most round table sessions are repeated more than once. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for individual round tables in advance when the conference opens.

The 2019 NRG Conference will feature round tables led by:
  • David Antscherl – Spar making or look, no lathe!
  • Toni Levine – Spiling & planking the half hull
  • Ron Nielson – Demonstration on making sails
  • Dan Pariser – How to make realistic shrouds & ratlines

Thursday Tours

The tours have filled up and no further seats are available as of July 29, 2019. A small wait list will be maintained in case of cancellations.

The 2019 conference includes two amazing tours.  You’ll have the opportunity to take guided tours of both the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI and the Naval Warfare College Museum in Newport, RI.  You don't have to choose just'll be able to tour both venues during Thursday's all-day excursion.

The Herreshoff Marine Museum includes fantastic exhibits covering the history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America’s Cup.  You can find more information about current exhibits and what’s on display at the Herreshoff Marine Museum website at

The Naval Warfare College Museum tour is a great opportunity to visit a historic museum located at the Naval Warfare College at the US Naval Station in Newport.   More information is available on their webste at

Conference attendees can tour both these facilities on Thursday, October 24, 2019.  We’ll be divided into two groups, with one group attending the Herreshoff Museum tour while the other group attends the Naval Warfare College tour.  After a break for lunch on your own, the groups will switch and proceed to the other museum.

Transportation to the tours will be provided.   Because we are a large group, we are being offered special arrangements for entry to the facilities so only members on the bus can be admitted.

Ship Model Display

The model ship exhibit returns again for the 2019 conference!  The model display features ship models made by NRG members and conference attendees.  You'll be able to see some great models made by other members as well as some works-in-progress.  

Interested in showing a model?  Download and complete the Ship Model Display form and send it with your conference registration.  Space is limited, so register your models early.

October 6, 2019 is the cutoff date for registration of models and the final date in order to have a tent card made up with the model's information, as listed on the registration form.
If you have already registered for the conference and you plan to bring a model, fill out the form and send it to the office ASAP as all model registrations are on a first come first served basis.
If you are planning to attend the conference but have not yet registered for the conference and plan to bring a model, please send both registration forms together.
We expect the available space for model displays to be filled so we have had to prioritize who can display their models. Members attending the conference will have priority to display their model(s) over members not attending the conference. The space will be allocated on a first come first served basis and the member will be notified of their model's acceptance by email from the office. The registration confirmation from the office must accompany the model to the show.

Annual Banquet

This year’s conference banquet will be held on Friday night, October 25, 2019 at the Waypoint Event Center at the Fairfield Inn and Suites New Bedford.  The Waypoint Event Center is a former whale oil processing plant.

The banquet will be a buffet that includes Caesar salad, Atlantic salmon, shrimp scampi, prime roast beef, chicken, potatoes, coffee and dessert.  


Lunches during Friday and Saturday conference sessions will be salads and sandwiches – Roast Beef, Roasted Turkey BLTs and Italian grinders.  

If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know when you register so that your needs can be accommodated.  Special dietary needs cannot be accommodated if we are not notified at least ten (10) days prior to the event due to the caterers and the Waypoint Center’s requirements.
Photo Credits: (Left) "Lagoda", largest ship model in existence, at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  (Center) Naval Warfare College Museum building.  (Right) Boats on display at the Herreshoff Marine Museum.