Whales Tohorā – The Exhibition
Canadian Museum of Nature Welcomes International Blockbuster from New Zealand
Ottawa, February 22, 2012—The whales are coming! On March 2, 2012, the Canadian Museum of Nature opens Whales Tohorā – The Exhibition, an internationally touring exhibition from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Interactive and immersive, Whales Tohorā brings adults and children eye to eye with some of the world's most elusive creatures.
Rich with real skeletons, life-sized recreations, specimens, artefacts and multimedia, this exhibition inspires awe and respect for whales through a unique blend of science, storytelling and cultural links. It will be on view at the Canadian Museum of Nature for six months until September 3, 2012, and arrives in Canada following a successful run at the Field Museum in Chicago, U.S.A.
"As a national research and educational institution, the Canadian Museum of Nature is delighted to offer this rare opportunity to gain new insights about whales through the collections of a leading international museum," said Meg Beckel, CEO and President of the Canadian Museum of Nature. "We will continue to give Canadians the opportunity to connect with and be inspired by the natural world by presenting respected exhibitions and programmes such as Whales Tohorā."
Featuring a massive 17.8-metre, fully articulated sperm-whale skeleton, Whales Tohorā showcases unique specimens from Te Papa's marine-mammal collection, one of the largest in the world. Visitors will see life-sized and scale models of whales that are common to the South Pacific, and come to understand the two main groups of whales: toothed and baleen. Whale-bone treasures such as weapons and adornments produced by indigenous peoples of New Zealand reflect the exhibition's cultural expression of the relationship between the Māori and whales.
"Whales Tohorā proved hugely popular with both adults and children when we launched it in New Zealand back in 2007, so we are pleased to provide international audiences with the opportunity to benefit from our collections to learn more about whales," said Dr. Seddon Bennington, Te Papa's Chief Executive.
The exhibition's Whale Lab is full of interactive science:
- Children can crawl through a life-sized replica of the heart of the largest living creature—the blue whale.
- The extraordinary evolutionary journey of whales from land to the sea is shown by casts of fossil whale ancestors.
- Visitors can tune in to a range of whale sounds and discover how scientists and amateur trackers identify individual whales on their migration through the Pacific Ocean.
- The Whale Lab also features Search and Destroy, an experience that takes visitors to the ocean depths on a hunt for a giant squid, re-created from authentic data and sounds collected from a real sperm whale.
The intricacies of whale biology and the history of whaling in New Zealand are examined through the voices of scientists, conservationists, former whalers and the Māori. The exhibition also examines threats facing whales, such as fishing nets, foreign debris, predators and boats. And, it explains why whales strand themselves and addresses what can be done about it.
For centuries, the people of the South Pacific have interacted with whales. Whales Tohorā brings their stories alive through videos and a moving film experience, alongside the model whale head from the 2002 movie Whale Rider. The film tells the stories of three whale-riding traditions in New Zealand, including the famous story of Paikea. The story of the chief Tinirau and his pet whale, Tutunui, is a tale of love and revenge recognized throughout the South Pacific and brought to life in a stunning stand-alone animated movie.
"We are delighted to partner with the Canadian Museum of Nature to support this unique show," said Wade Luzny, CEO-Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, which is actively involved in the conservation of Canada's marine environment and the diverse life that depends on it as part of its ongoing Marine Program. "As Canada is surrounded by three oceans and stewards 243 000 km of coastline, we hope that this breathtaking exhibition provides a forum to inspire conservation through education."
To engage visitors, the Canadian Museum of Nature will be supplementing the exhibition with educational programmes about oceans and marine themes throughout March Break and the summer tourist season. Other activities for adults include Café scientifique evenings on the last Friday of every month, and a special whale trivia night on June 8, the eve of Oceans Day.
Admission to Whales Tohorā is offered through a special $6 surcharge on the general admission fee, which includes access to all the museum galleries. Visit http://nature.ca/whales for details, and to see a photo gallery for media.
The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa. Follow the museum on Twitter (@museumofnature) and on Facebook.
About the Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes awareness of Canada's natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public-education programmes, ongoing scientific research, a dynamic web site and the maintenance of a 10.5 million-specimen collection. A founding member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, the museum is working with partners to expand its national service and develop national programmes about the natural environment.
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Canadian Museum of Nature
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Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
This exhibition was made possible through the support of the New Zealand Government.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a partner in the presentation of Whales Tohorā at the Canadian Museum of Nature.