NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A new expansion has made the New Bedford Whaling Museum even more behemoth than it was before.

The museum recently opened an $8 million wing dubbed the Wattles Jacobs Education Center. The 20,000-square-foot expansion — the largest in the museum's 112-year history — quadruples the museum's educational space.

Officials say the expansion reunited the museum's research library with the main campus near the waterfront in the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park.

Museum board of trustees chairman Arman Fernandes, Jr., says the new facility will help the museum educate students in New Bedford about the city's whaling past. In its heyday in the mid-1800s, New Bedford was the hub of the global whaling industry.

The center is named for benefactors Kathy and Gurdon Wattles and Joan and Irwin Jacobs.