On display from Saturday, March 11 to Monday, September 4, 2017, the exhibition explores the story of the nine blue whales from the endangered North Atlantic population that became stranded in thick ice and died in May 2014. Two of these whales later washed ashore at Trout River and Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in cooperation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Research Casting International, the ROM travelled to the site to recover the skeletons, along with DNA samples and other important biological information. The results of that work form the centrepiece of this astonishing exhibition — a massive, fully-articulated Blue Whale skeleton, at 80 feet, one of the largest, most complete displays of its kind in the world.
“Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition that visitors will not soon forget,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO. “It also highlights the ROM’s standing as a world-leading centre of scientific research and conservation. Through new and original work, ROM experts play a vital role in advancing our global understanding of the natural and cultural world. At the heart of the Blue Whale Story is a critical conservation message that Canadians can celebrate and take pride in during our 150th year of Confederation.”
This exhibition is a collaborative project led by the ROM’s Dr. Mark Engstrom, Senior Curator and Deputy Director of Collections and Research, with colleagues Burton Lim, Assistant Curator of Mammalogy; Jacqueline Miller, Mammalogy Technician; Oliver Haddrath, Ornithology Technician; Dave Ireland, Managing Director of ROM Biodiversity, and Gerry De Iuliis, Lecturer in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
“Blue whales have captured our imagination through their sheer size and extreme adaptation to aquatic life. The chance to share the recovery story with our visitors is a rare opportunity,” said Mark Engstrom. “We are grateful to our colleagues, here and in Newfoundland and Labrador, for their invaluable support on this exhibition and its link to the incredible research uncovered.”
Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is the cornerstone of the ROM’s exhibition program to commemorate Canada and Ontario’s 150th anniversary.
“The ROM’s new Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is a must-see on your list of things to do in Ontario this year,” says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Unique experiences like this exhibition attract tourists and build on our province’s reputation as a top travel destination, especially as we celebrate our 150th anniversary. I’m delighted that the Ontario150 program is supporting this rare experience, helping us all learn a little more about the mysterious blue whale.”
More information on the exhibition is available at www.rom.on.ca/en/blue-whale