Paul Wellman

Missing Blue Whale Bones Return

Restoration Crew Reinstalls Chad’s Ribs at the Museum of Natural History

WHO: Chad, the Blue Whale skeleton, Academy Studios, and Co-Project Managers Paul Collins and Gary Robinson

WHAT: Some natural history museums have iconic dinosaur skeletons. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has a skeleton of the largest animal to ever exist on Earth – the Blue Whale – whom we fondly call “Chad.” In November 2010, after a nine-month “vacation,” Chad’s bones returned after some much needed R&R (repair and restoration). Then in early January 2011, some of Chad’s bones were removed for repairs. After Chad’s original homecoming, Santa Barbara experienced rainstorms and extreme temperature fluctuations in December, which caused some of the bones to develop cracks. Therefore, the ribs and bones of the front flippers were taken down and underwent repair, weather testing, and stabilization at Academy Studios. The bones are now ready for reinstallation which is scheduled today, April 19, 2011. Exact times unknown. A small scissor lift will be delivered Tuesday morning that will be used during this reinstall and repair work. Before the lift can be driven onto the exhibit pad area, sturdy floor plywood will be laid down to protect the new whale form that was recently laid over the last two weeks.

The next steps for the Blue Whale skeleton include finalizing the exhibit pad area, lighting, landscaping and signage. Please remind the public that access to the inside area of the Blue Whale skeleton is prohibited as it is still technically a construction area.

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