Duchess to Attend Opening of New Hintze Hall

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THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE WILL ATTEND TRANSFORMED HINTZE HALL LAUNCH EVENT
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the National Portrait Gallery, 2017

THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE WILL ATTEND TRANSFORMED HINTZE HALL LAUNCH EVENT

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON

Thursday, 13th July 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Natural History Museum, will attend the opening of the museum’s spectacular new Hintze Hall. The launch event will recreate the sounds and scents of the ocean, to celebrate the museum’s new star display – a diving blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.

Hintze Hall re-opens to the public on the 14th July following a six month refurbishment programme, after two years of planning. A diving blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling is at the heart of the refurbishment and will lead a cast of natural world stars, including ten other star displays in the ground floor alcoves called the Wonder Bays, and hundreds of new specimens altogether across three floors.

Scientists, curators, conservators and engineers worked on the blue whale skeleton for months – mostly in an off-site warehouse due to its enormous size – cleaning and preparing it for its new home in Hintze Hall. The 25.2-metre skeleton arrived back at the museum in April 2017, and teams have worked tirelessly to have it ready for July’s grand unveiling.

The blue whale is the largest known animal to have lived on Earth. Driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, it was one of the first species that humans took action to save. It tells a story of hope. In 1966, it became the first animal to be protected by international law, after decades of aggressive hunting by humans. After hunting was banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1966, blue whale numbers began to slowly recover.

Placing this whale in the heart of the Museum is a public reminder of humanity’s responsibility to protect our fragile planet. The whale takes the place of Dippy the Diplodocus, the dinosaur skeleton cast which previously stood in the centre of the hall and is soon to be embarking on a tour of the UK.

Alongside the whale, the new Hintze Hall has ten other star displays called the Wonder Bays, which are arranged in alcoves on the ground floor. Each has been picked out by Museum scientists from the collection of over 80 million specimens. Together with the blue whale, they tell some of the most compelling stories about the past, present and future of our planet. The new specimens range from mammals to meteorites, representing the history of this planet – from the beginning of the solar system to the biodiversity of the present day.

During the launch event, which takes place in Hintze Hall beneath the blue whale, The Duchess will meet Sir Michael Dixon and Sir David Attenborough, tour some of the new Wonder Bays including the blue marlin, where she will meet the curators and hear about ocean ecology and conservation, a subject of particular interest for her. After speeches, Her Royal Highness will watch a musical performance in the hall, before joining a short reception.

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