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Oddly Enough

Museum whale model gets a cleaning

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 - 01:24

Nemesis of New York museum's 21,000-pound blue whale: dust bunnies. Roselle Chen reports.

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Two days in the bath might turn anyone blue, but that's exactly the color sought by staff at New York's American Museum of Natural History cleaning a 21,000-pound (9,500 kg) fiberglass blue whale looming over exhibits. The 94-foot (29 meters) whale replica was undergoing the removal of a year's worth of dust bunnies, said Dean Markosian, director of project management for the museum's exhibition departments. SOUNDBITE: Dean Markosian, director of project management at the American Museum of Natural History, saying (English): "It's a fiberglass skin on a metal steel armature. It's all suspended from one point in the ceiling, so it has this quality of floating in space. It does collect dust over time, so we have to clean it about once a year." Suspended by a 16-inch-diameter (40 cm) steel pipe at a single point where its tail meets the ceiling, the mostly hollow model is meant to appear to be swimming in the ocean. At 190 tons, blue whales are the heaviest creatures to have ever existed on Earth. Using a vehicle similar to a cherry picker and a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush and 12-foot (3.6 meters) arm, the cleaning process takes two to three days. SOUNDBITE: Dean Markosian, director of project management at the American Museum of Natural History, saying (English): "We have to move the lift between sections as we're doing that and that takes up some of the time. It's a big job, it's a lot of surface area on this guy." The life-sized fiberglass blue whale has been in the museum for 45 years and was modeled after a dead female whale found off South America in 1925.

Museum whale model gets a cleaning

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 - 01:24

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