This week, the ‘whale aisle’ was invaded by a hoard of riggers and scaffolders, constructing a safe and simple means to transfer the specimens into their new positions in the gallery.
Not moving too far, the specimens are now in size order and are staggered, taking advantage of the vast roof space. The Northern Bottlenose Whale is now at the highest level (7 meters up!) and the Dolphin at the lowest. This new positioning meant transporting the Orca, Beluga and Dolphin out of the aisle on wheels, and then returning them to their new locations, ready to be hoisted.
As a parting gift we made each specimen an engraved acrylic sign. This included updated taxonomic information and a contemporary, larger font to keep with the museum’s new visual identity. To further engage visitors, we provided all information on both sides of the panel. We also used this opportunity to take photomicrographs of the bone and cartilage for our records.
Due to the movement and handling of the specimens, a few final adjustments were needed once the whales were settled into their desired positions.
A big thank you to Outback Rigging, Alan & Foxworthy Scaffolding Services and Beard Construction for their help with this memorable event. We look forward to sharing more photos with you next week to see the pod in their new home.
Nicola Crompton, Conservation Intern
Bethany Palumbo, Conservator of Life Collections