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Whale takes focal point at Natural History Museum
© Amila Tennakoon

Natural History Museum replaces diplodocus with blue whale

13/07/17Culture

The Natural History Museum in London, UK, has undergone a major renovation with the addition of a blue whale skeleton now located in the main exhibit as visitors come through the front door.

The whale has replaced ‘Dippy’ the much-loved diplodocus dinosaur, which will soon head out on a tour of the UK.

The museum believes the change will refresh its image.

It wants to be known more for its living science than its fossils.

The whale has been given the name ‘Hope’ as a ‘symbol of humanity’s power to shape a sustainable future’.

Staff have spent months preparing the 126-year-old skeleton for its new role.

Many people were involved in the renovations, but the promotion of the whale represents something of a personal triumph for Richard Sabin, the museum’s principal curator of mammals.

He championed the change and suggested the dynamic lunge-feeding pose that the whale now assumes.

Sabin said: “I was absolutely blown away.

“I remember running up the stairs to the balcony and asking an attendant if the whale skeletons in the gallery were real, And she said ‘yes, and not only that you can still see these animals in the ocean today’.

“I got home and the very next day I headed down to the public library to try to find as many books as I could on whales. It was, to coin a phrase, a defining moment.”

He added: “Thursday is going to be an amazing day for everyone involved; I am sure there will be plaudits for what we’ve done, but I can’t wait for Friday morning when the first families, the first schoolchildren, walk through the door and I get to hear what they’ve got to say about what they see.”

After Dippy’s two-year tour of the UK, it will return to a renovation of its own.

The skeleton, which is actually only a plaster cast, will be fashioned again in bronze and placed in the east garden in front of the museum.

Pan European Networks Ltd