Blue Whale, Natural History Museum

David Dexter Associates expertise in lightweight structures was called upon to assist in the design and the installation of the steel armature supporting the original blue whale skeleton in the main hall of the Natural History Museum. The skeleton weighs 4.5 tonnes and is suspended from the existing Victorian wrought iron roof trusses by a series of V-cables. 

Working for our Canada-based client, DDA was responsible for checking the strength and stability of the primary steel frame and the interface with the existing roof structure. Due to the complexity and the flexible nature of the structure, a full 3D computer non-linear analysis has been carried out. After a complex but successful lifting process the whale now resides in its final position 1.45 m above the floor in a dramatic diving pose.

‘Hope’, the 25.2m Blue Whale, features as the centre piece of the new Natural History Museum grand entrance Hintz Hall exhibition, replacing ‘Dippy’ after 112 years.