Fin Whale Passage

After being absent for nearly four years for intensive cleaning and conservation, the spectacular Humboldt fin whale specimen returns home to the Museum in a newly renovated gallery. The 63-foot-long specimen, which weighs more than 7,000 pounds, has been re-articulated to create a more realistic impression of the living animal. A sound installation and interactive visitor components accompany the display.

Originally acquired in 1926 from a whaling station in Humboldt County, California, the fin whale specimen was continuously exhibited in the Museum from 1944 through 2006, when it was removed to make way for the retrofit, restoration and renovation of the landmark 1913 Building (set to re-open in July 2010). The Humboldt fin whale specimen was sent for conservation at the famed fossil preparation house Phil Fraley Productions in New Jersey. Like the historic building that once housed it, the fin-whale skeleton has been thoroughly restored. Each of the 221 individual bones was meticulously cleaned and conserved. A new steel armature supports the completely assembled skeleton and a new sculpted tail fluke has been added.

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Exhibitions and events

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Gems and Minerals

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