Whale Exhibit Gets Cleaning After a Century - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Whale Exhibit Gets Cleaning After a Century

By Mary Simms

KALIHI (KHNL) - It hasn't been cleaned in 100 years because "this" is no easy job. Suspended 40 feet in the air, safety is as much of a concern, as conservation.

"We're most concerned with safety on something like this, up 40 feet in the air, on this whale. We have two women working on it, and its tough, its hard, and its dangerous," said Valerie Free, Bishop Museum Conservator.

Not only is it dangerous, but its also quite a long process. its day three, and the ladies are crossing their fingers they'll finish today.

Cleaning the skeleton and skin may look easy, but its not.

"The head cavity was very difficult, we had to hang off our ropes and swing around inside," said Free.

Its a lot of work, but they say its well worth it.

"Its the one exhibit that everyone remembers and it was so special to the museum when we started talking about renovating the hall and designing all new exhibits," said Free.

The sperm whale exhibit has hung in Hawaiian Hall since 1901. Its one of few exhibits of its kind, in the world.

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