Is the Whale in Natural History Museum Real?

The Natural History Museum is one of the most iconic museums in the world, drawing millions of visitors every year. One of the main attractions in the museum is the gigantic blue whale that hangs from the ceiling.

Many people wonder whether this impressive creature is real or just a replica. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of this beloved exhibit and answer the question: Is the whale in Natural History Museum real?

Origins of the Blue Whale Exhibit

The blue whale exhibit has been a fixture at the Natural History Museum since 1967. The idea for this exhibit came from a man named Vernon Ellis who was an oil executive and a philanthropist.

He had seen a similar exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum and thought that London should have one too. Ellis donated £100,000 to fund the creation of a life-size model of a blue whale.

Is it Real or Not?

While many visitors assume that the blue whale hanging in the museum is a real specimen, it is actually a fiberglass model. The reason for this is simple – it would be impossible to display an actual blue whale inside a building! Blue whales are not only enormous, but they are also an endangered species and it would be unethical to capture or kill one for display purposes.

How Was It Made?

Creating such an enormous model was no small feat. A team of experts worked for over two years to construct it.

They began by creating detailed drawings and measurements based on photographs and videos of actual blue whales. Then they created a wireframe structure and covered it with fiberglass panels.

Real Bones on Display

While the blue whale itself may not be real, there are plenty of authentic artifacts on display in its vicinity. For example, you can see several real bones from other marine mammals such as dolphins and porpoises nearby. These bones provide visitors with a sense of the incredible size and weight of these creatures.


So, to sum up, the blue whale hanging in the Natural History Museum is not a real specimen but rather a fiberglass model. Nevertheless, it remains a breathtaking sight and an important symbol of the incredible diversity of life on our planet. The museum continues to inspire and educate visitors from all over the world with its fascinating exhibits.