We do not have accurate estimates of global pre-whaling blue whale populations but about 360,000 were killed in the first half of the twentieth century.
Whalers sold their meat, oil and baleen. It is estimated that just 500 of them were left alive.
Once blue whales were protected by the International Whaling Commission in 1966, some populations of the species began to slowly recover.
By learning from the story of this endangered species, humanity is in a better position to protect the planet in years to come.
This skeleton, placed in the centre of the Museum, is a symbol of hope - a public reminder that Earth's rich biodiversity may be at risk, but it is within our power to protect it.
Side view of a blue whale © Andrew Sutton, Shutterstock.com / A blue whale breaching the surface © Powell’s Point, Shutterstock.com / Old whaleboat in Grytviken © Evenfh, Shutterstock.com