Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whaling Museum - New Bedford, MA

Hello my raviolis.  Grandma-ma had a wonderful time in Massachusetts with Grampy.  He took me to the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA.  There were so many wonderful things to see about the whaling industry.  The biggest exhibits were the whale bones they had and today's post will be all about those bones.

The entrance to the Whaling Museum. They had lots of whale activities for children going on.  I thought of all of you and what fun we would have tying ships knots, making candles, climbing rigging, painting faces and shooting harpoons at targets.

When you walk into the main lobby you are greeted by a huge skeleton of a whale that is hung from the ceiling.  I won't tell you what type of whale this is.  I want you to guess after you have read the entire post.

A closeup of the skull.  This is huge, about the size of a Volkswagen beetle.  What is that shiny, sticky brown stuff on the whale bones and particularly on the skull?  Do you know?

Grandma-ma is standing directly under the rib cage and looking up. These bones were huge.

The rib cage of one whale and the tail of another that is hung next to it.

This whale skull is full of this brown, sticky fluid which is whale oil.  Whale bones contain lots and lots of oil and it can take decades (20 years or more) to leach the oil out of the bones until they are dry and white.  This skeleton was buried for 7 years in sandy materials to pull or leach the oil of the bones.  This still left lots of oil in the porous bones of the skull so rather then keep it buried for so long, the museum decided to suspend the skeleton and put a big Plexiglas pan under the skull and now the oil slowly drips onto the pan and down a long tube.  Can you see the oil drips on the pan?

The beaker that the tube is in and the oil from the whale spills into it.  This is three months of oil that is slowly collected from just the bones.  How amazing is this?

Can you see how many whale skeletons are hanging?  Can you see all three?

This is a blue whale skull that is in one of the whale rooms.  This was a small whale skeleton that measured about 20 feet in length.  The teeth you see are about 6-9 inches in length.  The blue whales in the exhibits were not killed for the museum.  These were whale carcass's that washed up along the shore or whales found floating that had already died. 

Whales that were hunted in the 18th and 19th century were completely used and produced many necessary products.  Whale oil being the most sought after commodity.  It burns clean and was the oil used in nearly all gas lamps and lights in America and in much of the world.  Now I am going to give you a guessing game?  I have four whale pictures below.  Can you name what kind of whale species they are?  The answers will be below and then I want you to guess which is grandma-ma favorite whale species and why.  You can tell me by leaving a comment. 

Whale 1 is a ?

Whale 2 is a ?

Whale 3 is a ?

Whale 4 is a ?

I hope you enjoyed learning about the whales at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  Love and kisses and big whale hugs to you all. Love Grandma-ma

Whale 1 - Blue Whale
Whale 2 - Orca or Killer Whale
Whale 3 - Sperm Whale
Whale 4 - Humpback Whale
Don't forget, which of the four whales do you think is grandma-ma's favorite and why?

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