Whaling Museum Plans to Display Whale Skeleton

The Whaling Museum will use a recent Suffolk County grant to further plans to house the skeleton of a whale at its Cold Spring Harbor site.

Nomi Dayan, the museum’s executive director, said the $300,000 grant it was awarded will go toward site plans for an expansion in the back of the Main Street museum to house the skeleton of a sperm whale that washed up in Maine in 2012.

Most of the whales that have landed on East Coast beaches in recent years have been humpback whales, which historically were not those hunted by Long Island sailors.

But sperm whales were among those most frequently taken in the 19th Century when whaling was a significant commercial activity on Long Island, Dayan said.

“We wanted to get a skeleton that would be an everlasting symbol that would contextualize” the whaling industry, she said. “It would be the star of the show.”

While the museum can’t buy a whale skeleton outright, a permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will allow it to house one for educational purposes.

“Our goal is to increase knowledge of ocean literacy,” she said. “Whaling shaped the social and economic fabric of our region,” she said. “There’s so many connections to this time.”

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