Many visitors coming into the Museum are often drawn in by our two large sculptures which are placed in the lobby. One of our frequently asked questions is what these are made of. Many guests guess that it is a type of wood because of the porous nature of the material. The answer is that they are made of aged whalebone. Whalebone used in sculpture is old, not new. New whalebone is oily, smells, and will splinter if carved. Therefore, the older the bone, the better it is for carving.
These bones come from the base of the whale’s skull and the round holes you can see are where the spinal cord fits into the skull. Many people assume that these are vertebrae, but vertebrae look quite different.
Note how the shape of the vertebra is much different from the sculptures featured in our lobby!
Can you find other pieces made from whalebone in the Museum? Drop by and let us know! We have quite a few!
Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, MIA’s Development Officer