The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. It is home to an extensive collection of exhibits, including a life-size model of a blue whale that hangs in the museum’s Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life. But many visitors to the museum often wonder if the whale on display is real or just a replica.
What is the Whale?
The whale on display at the American Museum of Natural History is a model, not a real specimen. The model was constructed using fiberglass and other materials to create an accurate representation of a blue whale, which is the largest animal in existence. The model measures 94 feet long and weighs over 21,000 pounds.
Why isn’t it Real?
There are a few reasons why the whale on display at the museum isn’t real. For starters, it would be impossible to preserve a real blue whale specimen for long-term display.
Blue whales are enormous creatures that can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh over 200 tons. Even if one were to die naturally, it would be difficult to transport and preserve such a massive animal for public display.
Additionally, blue whales are an endangered species, so it would be unethical and illegal to hunt one for display purposes. The American Museum of Natural History takes conservation seriously and strives to promote environmental awareness through its exhibits.
How was it Made?
The construction of the life-size model began in 1966 and took approximately 18 months to complete. A team of artists, engineers, and technicians worked together to create an accurate representation of a blue whale based on photographs taken by scientists in the field. They used fiberglass molds to create individual sections of the body that were then assembled together like puzzle pieces.
Once assembled, the model was painted with acrylic paints in shades of blue-gray to mimic the natural coloring of a living blue whale. The model also features a number of anatomical details, such as the baleen plates in its mouth and the ridges on its throat.
While the whale on display at the American Museum of Natural History may not be a real specimen, it is still an impressive feat of engineering and artistry. The museum’s life-size model provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see and appreciate the size and majesty of one of nature’s most incredible creatures. So if you’re planning a visit to the museum, be sure to stop by Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life to see the whale for yourself!