What Is the Blue Whale at the Museum of Natural History Made Of?

If you’ve ever been to the Museum of Natural History in New York City, you’ve likely seen the massive blue whale hanging from the ceiling in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. This iconic exhibit is a must-see for visitors of all ages, but have you ever wondered what this incredible specimen is made of?

The Blue Whale: A Marvelous Work of Art

The Blue Whale exhibit at the Museum of Natural History is an awe-inspiring sight. Spanning 94 feet long and weighing more than 21,000 pounds, it’s hard to imagine that such a massive creature once roamed the Earth’s oceans. But what exactly is this incredible work of art made from?

The Skeleton

At the core of the Blue Whale exhibit is a massive steel skeleton that supports its weight and helps maintain its shape. The skeleton was designed by marine biologist Roy Chapman Andrews and constructed by the engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox in 1967.

The Skin and Coating

To give the Blue Whale exhibit its lifelike appearance, it’s covered in a layer of fiberglass reinforced with polyester resin. This coating was created by two artists, Don Rinaldi and Ray deLucia, who spent more than two years perfecting its texture and color. The result is an incredibly realistic rendering of a blue whale’s skin.

Eye-catching Details

To add even more realism to the exhibit, the artists included several eye-catching details that visitors may not notice at first glance. For example, if you look closely at the Blue Whale’s tail fluke, you’ll see that it has small bumps on it called tubercles. These bumps are actually found on real whales’ tails and help them swim more efficiently through water.

  • Another detail that visitors might miss is a small hole near the Blue Whale’s tail. This hole is actually a vent that allows air to escape when the whale dives deep into the ocean.
  • The Blue Whale’s eyes are also incredibly lifelike. They were created by layering fiberglass and resin over a mold, then painting them to match the exact shade of a real whale’s eyes.

In Conclusion

The Blue Whale exhibit at the Museum of Natural History is an incredible work of art that captures the majesty and grandeur of one of the largest animals on Earth. From its massive steel skeleton to its lifelike skin and eye-catching details, this exhibit is a testament to the skill and dedication of the artists who brought it to life. Whether you’re a longtime fan of marine life or just looking for an unforgettable experience, a visit to see the Blue Whale is sure to leave you in awe.