Whale Weekend

Last Friday 13 November saw us celebrating the 150th anniversary of our Finback Whale’s arrival on these shores.  The whale is not only a  Cambridge landmark, he is also beloved by the coastal community of Pevensey in East Sussex where he washed-up during a storm a century and a half ago.

Spectators visit the whale carcass at Norman’s Bay, 1865.

He has been getting a lot of attention from these two natural fan bases and beyond, and deservedly so. His own Twitter account – @whale_whispers – was awash with greetings from whale-wishers (and terrible whale puns). In the run up to the commemoration, the whale and the Museum redevelopment were the subject of a special report on BBC Look East and BBC South East and he was also the star of a feature article on BBC Cambridge news online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-34722447

On Saturday the 14th November, almost exactly a year after the first, we held our final Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea workshop in the Department of Zoology’s Main Lecture Theatre. Led by Attenborough sound recordist Chris Watson and community choir leader Rowena Whitehead, over 80 participants whooshed and waved like sea kale, popped like pistol shrimps and sang a traditional sea shanty with great gusto!

Chris Watson in action and participants recreating sounds of the sea!

It was a fantastic turn out for the finale of this unique, year-long HLF and ACE funded project. We are really looking forward to hearing the finished composition sometime in summer 2016. You can read more about it here: https://oceansongproject.wordpress.com/

The new Whale Hall where the 70ft whale skeleton and the Ocean Song soundscape will be installed is steadily taking shape. We will start re-assembling and re-hanging the whale skeleton next year.


View from above of the Whale Hall’s progress.

Fundraising to remount the whale and other large vertebrates is ongoing. We have revamped our ‘giving’ page. Here you can read about how we are dividing up the funds we are seeking to re-hang the Whale on a bone-by-bone basis.

Keep up to date with our progress by following us on Twitter @ZoologyMuseum, @whale_whispers. Like us on Facebook: Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. Or visit our website museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk for the latest information on forthcoming events.