Journal Article

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  • Driggsby the fin whale’s museum ecosystem: the collection, conservation, and installation of a new museum icon
    Jackson, S., Larkin, N.R.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 6, pages 87 - 98

    A 12-metre long juvenile fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus 1758)) skeleton, named Driggsby, was installed in the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in January 2018. The specimen was washed up on the West Cumbrian coast in February 2014. It represents a very rare find for the area and is also significant in terms of its near-completeness, juvenile status, and potential to inspire the public about endangered marine species. This unique project has involved four years of collaboration, working with many people from different sectors which make up Driggsby's 'museum ecosystem'. Most significantly, this included work with the second author in cleaning, conserving, mounting, and installing the specimen. Specialist methods were needed to clean the bones, as the specimen was very fresh. It also involved working with the local community from the outset, in terms of collecting the specimen and then beginning its preparation for display. Tullie House collaborated with the local Carlisle Natural History Society and engaged with museum volunteers. Working with local media has resulted in a plastic-free campaign led by Carlisle City Council. Driggsby’s museum ecosystem continues to grow as Tullie House integrates the specimen into work with schools and universities.

    Keywords: Fin whale, skeleton, collaboration, conservation, mounting, installation, community, volunteers