Sydney: Whales Exhibition in National Maritime Museum

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 2 Morning to Afternoon Itinerary :

  • Australian National Maritime Museum –>>
  • Sydney Fish Market 

Photography Exhibition

Entering the interior of the museum, we were first attracted to this photography exhibition where huge life-size photograph panels of whales were put up in a small gallery.

We were informed of the objective and the photographer’s experience with whales through information presented in an easy-to-read manner. The whales were given names by Bryant Austin and a little story on the information panel tells of his interaction with that particular whale, together with its species stats. We were thus more involved in reading the behind-the-scene story instead of just quickly walking through the beautiful photographs. Besides the stories, there were also factual information for us to learn.

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Day2Sydney_Whales Exhibition info
Dar reading the information which was conveniently placed at child’s height  so he could be more involved!

Museum Permanent Exhibitions

We had limited time to explore the museum after spending time outside at the ships. Thus, our main objective of visiting the interior was to check out the special Whales Exhibition.

Before reaching the special exhibition, we took quick glances at the permanent galleries. Dar loves ships too so he stopped at this huge cruising ship model to look carefully at the details before proceeding. The permanent exhibit consists of artefacts of ships from olden times, history of seafaring, navy and the first people of Australia. There are many interesting information presented to learn from, if one stays long enough.

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Whales Exhibition

When I first chose Maritime Museum in our itinerary, I wanted it for the ships which Dar is very interested in. When I found that a whales exhibition — “Amazing Whales- Evolution and survival” would be on, I was even happier. This means we all get to see what we love. Dar loves mechanical things and has low interest for animals while I love animals.

Note: This special exhibition is on from 22 March – 20 July 2014

It is however quite a small exhibition with a few information panels and models of different types of whales. Dar got an idea of the different types of whales as there were blue whale, killer whale and narwhals with the long tusk. We were greeted with replica fossils of the ancestors of Cetaceans at the entrance, where we learnt the process of their evolution.

Day2Sydney_Whale Exhibition Dar

Information about the whales were presented for kids at two levels and the younger kids would read the lower portion. These information panels act as guide with questions to the kids so they can understand the exhibit and find the answer. We told Dar to read the information and he did learn a little but he was less interested compared to the ships earlier on. Most of the time, Vin and I were the one reading the interesting information because we didn’t know much about whales.

Their ancestor was a hoofed land animal whose descendants gradually adapted to an amphibious lifestyle before becoming entirely aquatic. More information on whales found on the official webpage.

To me, the most interesting questions were, “Do whales have a sense of smell?” and “How do they give birth in water?”  We stood there for a while to look at the video on-screen showing the birth of a young whale and some information on dolphins. A glass case display of the brain of a Bottlenose dolphin caught our attention. It was huge and showed high intelligence due to a convoluted cortex.

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By the way, whales are high intelligence creatures too and they are very like us humans with the need for family, social life and play. This exhibition intends to help us understand whales in order for their conservation. As mentioned earlier, the National Maritime Museum has even set up a Japanese vessel captured from an illegal entry into their waters as an ‘Anti-Poaching’ Vessel. (I guess, to protest against their whaling activities – we didn’t go onboard it )

Due to Dar, we were not able to include a whale-watching activity but I was satisfied to learn a little through this exhibition.

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Craft & Souvenirs

We visited the souvenir shop right after spending about 20 minutes in the small whale exhibition. There was a person building a model of an ancient vessel. Cool!

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In the souvenir shop, we got some nice postcards of Sydney Harbour and two bath toys for Dar to play with. One was a ship and another was a submarine. He happily played with these in the bath throughout our stay in Mercure Hotel every evening.

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