Journal Article

  • A whale skeleton is moved
    Garcia-Franquesa, E.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 5, pages 115 - 124

    The largest specimen in the collection of the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona (MCNB), the skeleton of a Fin Whale Balaenoptera physalus (MZB 83-3084), was suspended as a mounted exhibit from the ceiling of the Museum’s temporary exhibition hall from 1986 onwards. However, in 2009 the MCNB was modernised and enlarged with the addition of a new building, which involved the moving of the skeleton from where it presided over the staircase of the main hall of the public entrance to the new building to be mounted as if in the act of diving. The 100-year-old bones of its skeleton were
    dismantled, all bones conserved, moved in mounted sections to the new building, and rehung there from the ceiling. The whole project took two years to complete and culminated in the final challenge of suspending the skeleton in its new position. In the end, the complexity of the task was far greater than we first imagined due to an unforeseen incident during the dismantling process, the great quantity of dirt and fat on the bones, and the delicate work required to position the fragile skeleton above the staircase. In order to ensure that the skeleton was safely mounted and posed no danger to
    visitors, numerous specialists had to be employed on the project. Greater coordination then expected was required during the work and many working days were long and highly intense. The fruitful teamwork that characterised the whole project was the key to ensuring that this much-beloved specimen continues to be displayed for visitors to enjoy.

    Keywords: Fin whale, mounted skeleton, conservation treatments, transport, new location, structure