Famous Thames whale on display in Tring

The latest temporary exhibition at the Natural History Museum at Tring, The Thames Whale Story, opens on January 22.

The latest temporary exhibition at the Natural History Museum at Tring, The Thames Whale Story, opens on January 22.

The exhibition marks the five-year anniversary of the now-famous northern bottlenose whale that found its way into the River Thames. Following the dramatic three days in which the whale swam up the Thames, explore how it got there from its home miles away in the North Atlantic, what happened to the skeleton after the failed rescue attempt and how important it is to science today.

From the moment it was spotted in the Thames on January 19, 2006, the whale captured the public’s imagination. At six metres long, it was unmissable, and the female whale’s every move was followed by the public and the media. Despite rescue efforts, the whale died on January 21 as it was being taken back out to sea on a barge. This northern bottlenose whale was the first of its species to be seen in the river since Museum scientists began recording strandings around our coastline almost 100 years ago.

The whale’s skeleton was preserved and has joined the Natural History Museum collections, where it is studied by scientists and available for international researchers.

Richard Sabin, Senior Curator of Mammals at the Natural History Museum explained, ‘Scientists from all over the world will use this specimen for research. Gaining new specimens, like this one, is very important to modern science to find out more about how the world is developing and changing.’

Alice Dowswell, Learning and Interpretation Manager at the Natural History Museum at Tring said, ‘Having this enormous skeleton and other extraordinary specimens from our collections on display gives our visitors a great insight into how specimens are added to the collections and how valuable they are to our science and research.’

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Accompanying the exhibition are a range of family activities, including a skeleton puzzle, a game explaining how scientists prepare specimens for the Museum’s collection and another game uncovering what we can learn from samples taken from specimens. In addition there are two free gallery trails – one for under sevens and one for over sevens.

Visitor information

Address: The Natural History Museum at Tring, The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman Street, Tring, Herts HP23 6AP

Dates: 22 January – 2 May 2011

Admission: Free

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 2pm–5pm

Access: There is lift access to the ground floor and upper galleries of the Museum and to the Zebra Caf� and car park

Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 6171

Website:  www.nhm.ac.uk/tring


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