The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most iconic museums in the world, and it’s no wonder that visitors flock to see its exhibits. One exhibit that has been drawing crowds for over a century is the massive blue whale hanging from the ceiling in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. But the question on everyone’s mind is – is the whale real?
Many visitors assume that the whale is a model or replica, but it is, in fact, a real specimen. The whale was caught off the southern tip of South America in 1925 by a team of whalers led by Captain C.L.
Dyson. The crew used harpoons and rifles to take down the massive mammal, which measured over 94 feet long and weighed around 200,000 pounds.
After being caught, the whale was towed to Grytviken in South Georgia, where it was processed for its blubber and meat. The skeleton was then sent to New York City to be displayed at the American Museum of Natural History.
The whale’s bones were cleaned and assembled by museum staff using a series of specially designed cranes and pulleys. The process took nearly two years to complete. When it was finished, the skeleton weighed around 20 tons and was suspended from the ceiling with steel cables.
Despite being over 90 years old, the whale remains an impressive sight. Visitors can walk beneath it and marvel at its size and majesty.
But what about its condition? Is it still intact after all these years?
The answer is yes – for the most part. Over time, some parts of the whale have deteriorated due to exposure to light and air.
In particular, its skin has become discolored and brittle over time. However, this has not diminished its overall impact as an exhibit.
In recent years, there has been some controversy surrounding whether or not museums should display real animal specimens versus replicas or models. Some argue that displaying real animals is unethical and perpetuates a mentality of exploitation. Others argue that real specimens provide a more authentic and visceral experience for visitors.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the fact remains that the whale at the American Museum of Natural History is a real specimen. Its size and grandeur are truly awe-inspiring, and it serves as a reminder of the incredible diversity and beauty of our planet’s oceans.
In conclusion, the whale hanging in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History is indeed a real specimen. It was caught off the coast of South America in 1925 and has been on display at the museum since 1969. While some parts have deteriorated over time, it remains an impressive sight and an important reminder of the natural world’s majesty.