Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Men and Whales

The current exhibition at Whitby Museum is called Men and Whales and is on the history of whaling. It is an interesting and thought provoking exhibition and, as usual has a huge number of stunning artefacts from the museum collection. It also has a number of artefacts borrowed from Hull's Maritime Museum.

There are historic logs and journals of ships involved in whaling; strips of baleen and artefacts demonstrating the many uses of whale products. There are also stunning photographs and quotations from Inuit people whose lives and communities still maintain their relationships with whales. One of the quotations to create an impression upon me dated from 1994. Nikolai Gal,gaugye of Sireniki said 'As they (the whales) pass by your skin boat, great and quiet, you immediately come to understand your place on the Earth, and you become warm inside'.

The exhibition includes a display of several large old bones and, even as an incomplete skeleton, these help to give the visitor some sense of the scale of these great creatures. I have visited the exhibition a number of times and each time am drawn to the wonderful shapes of the bones themselves. I am now in the process of using some of the shapes as inspiration for one of my bracelets in my 'Inspired by Heritage' project. The exhibition only has a few weeks left to run so I would encourage a visit if you are in the area.

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