In March 2010, the Museum's Blue Whale skeleton "migrated" north to an exhibit design company called Academy Studios, in Novato, California, where it underwent a thorough restoration. The skeleton was dismantled and moved north on a truck, but the skull of the whale remained at the Museum because it is too badly deteriorated to be restored. Instead, a skull harvested from a 2007 Blue Whale stranding took the place of the old skull when the restoration was completed.
After nearly nine months of meticulous restoration by and preparation of a new skull and mandibles by staff from the Museum’s Vertebrate Zoology Department, the Museum’s Blue Whale skeleton was restored and reinstalled in November 2010. It is arguable, that "Chad" is the most anatomically correct Blue Whale skeleton display in the world. The restored skeleton is positioned as if the whale is beginning a deep dive into the water. Soon, visitors will once again enjoy walking under the skeleton and into the rib cage to experience the shear size of these gentle giants.
The restored skeleton, which weighs nearly 7,700 pounds, is 98% real bones and is a composite of four specimens. The skull and mandibles and one of the ear bones are from two different Blue Whales that stranded in Ventura, California in September 2007; the last five tail vertebrae are cast replicas made from tail bones of a Blue Whale borrowed from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and the majority of the skeleton is from a Blue Whale that stranded on south Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1980.
Our Blue Whale skeleton is proudly named "Chad" thanks to the leadership gift of the Dreier Family. The skeleton is truly a generational icon, so Museum Trustee Doug Dreier and his family named it “Chad,” which is the middle name of the men in the Dreier Family for three generations.
INSTALLATION PROCESS (November 10-19, 2010)
To see pictures of the installation process click on one of the days.
Day #1: Wednesday, November 10
Day #2: Thursday, November 11
Day #3: Friday, November 12
Day #4: Saturday, November 13
Day #5: Monday, November 15
Day #6: Tuesday, November 16
Day #7: Wednesday, November 17
Day #8: Thursday, November 18
Day #9: Friday, November 19