Newly on display, the story of Leeds City Museum’s magnificent long-finned pilot whale has never been more relevant.
The bones of the 152-year-old aquatic animal have been reassembled and hung from the ceiling of the museum as part of a new eco-awareness project, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.
Thanks to a grant of £8,300 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as support from the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society and the Friends of Leeds City Museums, curators are now hoping the display can spark a new wave of environmental discussion from visitors.
The incredible animal was killed by a group of fishermen off the coast of Scotland in 1867 alongside a number of other members of its pod.
Clare Brown, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of natural sciences, said: “It’s our hope that seeing our whale from this new perspective and learning more about its very sad story will not only capture the imaginations of our visitors, but also encourage them to think about our oceans and what they can do to support the spectacular array of life which calls them home.”
Long-finned pilot whales are named for their long pectoral fins and the belief that groups had a leader, or “pilot”.
Usually found in the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere, they can grow up to 6.5 metres in length and weigh in excess of five tonnes.
A poem about the whale has also been commissioned and is a key part of the new display.