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MAGNT celebrates reinstallation of Melville

MAGNT celebrates the reinstallation of Melville – The Pygmy Blue Whale, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, April 2024

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is thrilled to announce the re-launch of the Pygmy Blue Whale, Melville, at the Colin Jack-Hinton Maritime Gallery. This remarkable 21.9m skeleton, a vital scientific record of the endangered Pygmy Blue Whale species, is proudly on display after meticulous restoration efforts.

The Pygmy Blue Whale 2023. Photo by Mark Sherwood.

Melville’s return marks a significant milestone for MAGNT, as the Pygmy Blue Whale skeleton has not been showcased to the public since 1999. The reinstallation involved a two-year public appeal, raising funds through the Encounter: Deep Blue Fundraising Dinner, to support the restoration, preparation of bones, fabrication of a steel support frame, and mounting the awe-inspiring exhibit.

Historical Significance

The Pygmy Blue Whale skeleton, scientifically identified as Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda, was initially recovered from a mangrove forest and beach near Cape Hotham in 1981. Over the years, the museum acquired additional bones, including souvenired vertebrae, with the display officially opening in 1992. After a dismantling in 1999, the recent restoration involved recreating missing elements, such as eight vertebrae, three ribs and finger bones.

More information can be found HERE

Celebrate Melville’s Return

To mark this momentous occasion, MAGNT has organised a weekend of talks, free family-friendly activities and workshops, on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 of April.

Scan the code at any of the events to go into the draw to win a whale plushie and book on whales and dolphins.

List of events:

Talk | From the Tethys to the Territory: The Evolution of Marine Cetaceans in Northern Australia

Presented by MAGNT Senior Curator of Earth Sciences, Dr. Adam Yates
Saturday, April 20, 11am – 11.45am
Suitable for ages 16+ | Free | Bookings recommended

Talk | Marine Mammals of Northern Australia

Presented by CDU Senior Research Associate, Dr. Carol Palmer and Tiwi Marine Ranger, James Desantis
Saturday, April 20, 12 – 1pm
Suitable for ages 16+ | Free | Bookings recommended 

Talk | The Story of Melville the Pygmy Blue Whale

Saturday, April 20, 1.30 – 2.15pm
Suitable for ages 16+ | Free | Bookings recommended

Children’s Workshop | Build a Whale

Sunday, April 21, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Suitable for ages 8+ | $20.00 per person | Bookings essential

Family Fun | Have a Whale of a Time at MAGNT!

FREE family friendly activities for everyone to enjoy. Embark on Whale Trail, marine themed face painting, create a whale song and dance, make a crafty whale from every day waste and beach yourself on the lawns of MAGNT!

Sunday 21 April 10am – 3.30pm Suitable for all ages

Create | Whale Wonderings – Explore the Majesty of Marine Life through Drawing

Presented by local art educator, Maeve McCambridge
Saturdays, April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, 10.30 – 11.30am
Suitable for ages 8 – 12 years+ | $75.00 per child (four-week course) | Bookings essential
MAGNT invites the community to join in the celebration of Melville’s return, explore the rich history of the Pygmy Blue Whale, and engage in a range of educational and entertaining activities. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.magnt.net.au

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The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is thrilled to announce the re-launch of Melville, the Pygmy Blue Whale, in the Colin Jack-Hinton Maritime Gallery. The 21.9m skeleton, a rare and endangered Pygmy Blue Whale specimen, has undergone meticulous restoration, making it the only museum display of its kind from Northern Territory waters. The reinstallation was made possible through a successful two-year public appeal, supported by donations from the Encounter: Deep Blue Fundraising Dinner.

Melville’s history dates back to 1981 when the skeleton was recovered from a mangrove forest near Cape Hotham. Over the years, additional bones were acquired and the exhibit officially opened in 1992. However, in 1999, the skeleton was dismantled and now, over 20 years later, it has been lovingly reinstated. Significant efforts were made to recreate missing elements, including eight vertebrae, three ribs, and finger bones.

To celebrate Melville’s return, MAGNT has organised a weekend of talks and free family-friendly activities. Engage in educational talks by experts, exploring the evolution of marine cetaceans, marine mammals of Northern Australia and the captivating story of Melville. Families can participate in hands-on workshops, including building a whale and exploring marine life through drawing.

This unique event invites the community to rediscover the rich history of the Pygmy Blue Whale, engage in educational activities and marvel at the awe-inspiring exhibit. For event details and bookings, visit www.magnt.net.au/whatsondarwin

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this celebration and witness the return of Melville, the Pygmy Blue Whale, to public display after more than two decades.

More images available here https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/iva2hdt752956v4poqw7c/AOpjexMS26rjkV1jgA9jCaw?rlkey=fnvykcdrypo95w6bjw20afhta&dl=0