Blue Whale Model

Part of Hall of Ocean Life.

94 foot long fiberglass model of a female blue whale is suspended from the ceiling of the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. D. Finnin/© AMNH

In fact, the blue whale is the biggest animal ever known to have existed. It's even bigger than the enormous dinosaurs that lived over 65 million years ago.

这种巨大的物种用嘴里的鲸须板过滤大量的小猎物, 包括一种叫做磷虾的小甲壳类动物. Blue whales migrate long distances, traveling alone or in small groups called pods. They breed in warm southern waters during the winter and feed in polar seas during the spring and summer.


金沙城娱乐中心网址的标志性蓝鲸模型, 始建于20世纪60年代中期, was based on photographs of a female blue whale found dead in 1925 off the southern tip of South America. At the time, little was known about blue whales in their natural habitats. 

Click on the + signs below to find out more about the Museum's blue whale model.

Archival image of the initial installation of the 94-foot-long blue whale model.

Gone to Pieces

This model replaced a 76-foot-long plaster model of a blue whale created in 1907 for what was then the Hall of the Biology of Mammals on the fourth floor. Some of the old model’s pieces were sold as memorabilia at auction in 1974. 一位出价530美元购买一只玻璃假眼的女士说:“一旦你看到一头鲸鱼的眼睛,你就永远不会忘记它.”

Record Setter

On November 1968, the whale’s body was lifted up to the ceiling as two halves: the 66-foot-long front section and the 28-foot-long tail. The Hall of Ocean Life and Biology of Fishes opened on Wednesday, February 26, 1969, and the next Sunday, more than 35,000 people came to see the whale—setting a new attendance record for the Museum.

Source Material

1969年,为了庆祝海洋生物100周年,金沙城娱乐中心网址重新设计了海洋生物馆, artist Richard Ellis received one of the biggest assignments: designing the new life-sized blue whale model. 但直到20世纪70年代中期,才第一次拍摄到水下活鲸的照片. So Ellis had to rely on eyewitness descriptions— and extrapolate from photos or casts of whale corpses.

True to Life

The very last detail added to the model were 28 tiny hairs on the whale’s chin. 确定它们的位置, the preparators consulted the Discovery Reports, dispatches by a British Museum expedition on whaling in the Antarctic. 但是他们忘记了肚脐. 直到2003年,这个大厅才被重新装修,成为海洋生物的米尔斯坦大厅.


During the planning phase, Richard van Gelder, 然后是哺乳动物系主任, refused suggestions to depict the blue whale with its mouth open. He argued it would be scientifically inaccurate for a whale that was poised to dive— and also too tempting as a target for “potential basketball stars.”

Cutting Room Floor

Other scrapped plans? Depicting a beached whale, accompanied by a soundscape of scavenging birds and faux phosphorescent bacteria. Propping it atop a 3-foot-diameter pedestal on its belly. 周围环绕着人工水域还有三只步行栖息地的虎鲸. Floating a rubber model filled with helium (van Gelder thought it “too much like the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.” )

Heavy Weight

这个模型最终重达10吨, including the weight of the polyurethane plastic, the fiberglass coating, and 600 pounds of paint. 对焊接接头进行x射线照射后, engineers concluded the margin of safety built into the design would handle it.

By 2001, Museum artists working on the renovation of the 94-foot-long model had many more images and live footage of blue whales. 他们压平了模特曾经过于突出的眼睛,修正了气孔,并使尾巴变细. They also added a belly button–which visitors can find about four-fifths of the way down the model's body, a reminder of just one of the traits humans share with this majestic mammal.

At 21,000 pounds of foam and fiberglass, how does the model stay up? 它由一根钢管悬挂, connected to structures hidden in both the model and the ceiling.


Each year, the blue whale model receives a thorough scrub. What does it take to clean this massive exhibit? Three days, an electric lift, an industrial vacuum cleaner, and strong arms! 看看下面的视频吧.

Celebrate #AMNH150 #WHALE

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