Into the Light

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With the whales safely installed back in the roof space, it was time to throw open our doors and finally open to the public. The specimens are now in size order and are staggered in their distance from the ground. Each has its own spotlight, resulting in an impressive display, especially once darkness falls outside. These photos show the specimens in their final resting place. February 15th saw our ‘Dawn til Dusk’ re-opening event, where Bethany and I conducted short tours of the whale aisle to the general public (we were amazed to find a few of which were keen followers of this blog!)

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As mentioned in previous our blog entry ‘Whales whisper in the dark’, our project was the feature in a piece by free-lance film maker Robert Rapoport. He describes the film: ‘Whales spend a good part of their lives under conditions hard for us to imagine, much less represent. In April 2013 the whale skeletons, seen behind you, were lowered from the roof space, where they had hung for 150 years. After six months the whales re-emerged from the restoration process as more accurate representations of what they once were. This film abstracts what was a very complex process, offering an expanded set of associations along the way. It is also a tribute to the very human side of this scientific resurrection’

Thank you Robert for putting this together for us! You can watch it on a loop in the museum if you can’t get enough.

Nicola Crompton, Conservation Intern
Bethany Palumbo, Conservator of Life Collections

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As part of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History 2013 renovation, it was decided that the five whale (cetacean) skeletons, suspended from the museum roof, would undergo long-awaited conservation treatment.

This blog aims to present and discuss the conservation process, treatment methods applied and the final results achieved.

All text and images on this blog are copyright of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/