Saturday was moving day at the Pratt Museum when about 25 volunteers showed up to help move sections of a gray whale from the workshop into the space where the new exhibit, “Encounters: Whales In Our Waters,” will open on Feb. 1. The exhibit will profile nine cetacean species with the centerpiece this gray whale that washed ashore near Halibut Cove in 1999.
Since that time more than 100 volunteers have pitched in with butchering, cleaning, moving and storage of the 40-foot whale. Homer resident Lee Post, a 30-year veteran of marine mammal articulation, directed the project.
Built in sections, the reconstructed skeletal pieces of the whale, including the flippers, tail, middle section and skull, weigh an estimated 1,775 pounds. Unlike other projects Post has worked on, this one, because of its size and limited workspace, was built piece-by-piece and never assembled. “If everything was planned right this should all go together,” he said.
Above: Volunteers maneuver the 20-foot long section of backbone into the museum exhibit space after moving it 100 yards from the workshop.
Inset photo: Glenn Hollowell and Lee Post work from inside the skull of the gray whale as other workers remove the jaw bones of the gray