What's the best way to display a 85' blue whale skeleton?
Suspend and articulate it in its signature feeding pose
Natural History, Suspended in Time
Beaty Biodiversity Research Centre & Beaty Natural History Museum, Vancouver, BC
In 1987, the carcass of a 85 foot long mature female blue whale washed up on a secluded shore of Prince Edward Island (PEI). In hopes of preserving the whale's skeleton for research or museum display, the PEI government and the Canadian Museum of Nature buried her remains under the red dirt where she lay for two decades. In 2007, UBC was granted permission to retrieve the whale and bring it to BC to be displayed at The Biodiversity Centre’s & Beaty Natural History Museum complex.
The Biodiversity Centre is a 123,000 square foot four-storey building that houses wet and dry laboratories, collections, exhibits, and support and office space. Four interdisciplinary research groups representing a variety of UBC departments call the Biodiversity Centre home.
In addition to this research function, the adjoining Beaty Natural History Museum houses six of the University's most important scientific collections. A feature of the museum is the two-storey glass gallery that houses the blue whale skeleton. Expressed in the species ‘signature lunge-feeding pose’, this is the largest skeleton exhibit in the world suspended without external armature!
Dr. CC Yao led RJC's Vancouver Structural Team, providing engineering for both buildings. Leading the way in environmental stewardship, the Centre has several innovative sustainability features such as a green roof and water channel that supports aquatic plants and insects while helping reduce storm water surges. The centre opened to high acclaim in Fall of 2010.