NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Scrimshaw enthusiasts from around the nation and beyond are gathering at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this weekend.

The museum’s 29th annual Scrimshaw Weekend running Saturday and Sunday features lectures from experts, book signings and other events.

Scrimshaw is the art of carving often intricate pictures or patterns on whale teeth or bone. The art form was created by whalers, who needed something to pass the down time during whaling voyages that often lasted for years.

It was also practical. Many daily items including jewelry boxes, pipes, kitchen utensils and tools were created using scrimshaw techniques.

The New Bedford museum has more than 5,000 items of scrimshaw in its collection, the largest in the world.