We can’t count the number of times we’ve seen an intricate display in a museum and wondered what the installation process was like. Thanks to the Natural History Museum in London, our curiosity has been satisfied in the form of this awe-inspiring time-lapse of a blue whale skeleton being erected in the building’s Hintze Hall.
Replacing its predecessor and visitor favorite — a Diplodocus dinosaur affectionately known as Dippy — the massive female blue whale named Hope recently became the museum’s main exhibit, serving as a “symbol of humanity’s power to shape a sustainable future.” According to the museum, the skeleton comes from a whale that was stranded in 1891 on Ireland’s Wexford Harbour Island.
The frame of the 126-year-old sea mammal hangs from the ceiling, with all 221 bones suspended in a diving lunge feeding position. The installation took months of preparation, and it’s an incredible sight.
On Thursday, the museum presented an official unveiling of Hope along with the time-lapse video that shows the skeleton being pieced together from start to finish.
While the whale is obviously the free exhibit’s main attraction — the Duchess of Cambridge and Sir David Attenborough attended a gala launch ahead of the unveiling —it is also accompanied by various specimens that represent the world’s natural beauty, including the skeleton of an American mastadon, a 4.5-billion-year-old Imilac meteorite gem that dates to the beginning of the solar system and a 122-129-million-year-old Mantellisaurus, one of the most complete dinosaur fossils ever found in the U.K.