It has taken months for conservators to prepare the whale skeleton for its new home

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BBC Horizon to document transformation of Hintze Hall

BBC Two's Horizon programme will go behind the scenes at the Museum to film the move of a blue whale skeleton into Hintze Hall.

Hintze Hall, the Museum's central space, closed on 5 January for a grand transformation.

It will reopen on 14 July 2017 with dozens of new specimens on display, including a 25.2-metre-long blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.

The Horizon team will follow the work of Museum experts, including conservators, curators, engineers and scientists, as they create the new space and tackle the enormous challenge of hanging the huge whale specimen.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, says, 'Hanging a blue whale skeleton from a Grade I listed building is no mean feat.

'We're delighted to work with the renowned Horizon team to share with BBC viewers this ambitious, once-in-a-generation transformation of one of the nation's most-loved galleries.'

Science on film

The programme has been covering science and philosophy stories since it first aired in 1964.

Museum conservators have been carefully cleaning and preparing the whale bones

BBC Horizon is following Museum conservators as they clean and prepare the whale bones


The new documentary will follow the story of the blue whale's move from the Mammals gallery into Hintze Hall, and it will air on BBC Two on Thursday 13 July at 21.00 BST.

Steve Crabtree, Editor of BBC Horizon, says, 'BBC Science has a long relationship with the Natural History Museum.

'I personally directed one of my first-ever films there almost 20 years ago, and Horizon itself made a documentary about the Museum back in the early 1970's.

'It's brilliant to have been given "access all areas" for this film, and to work closely with the Museum staff as they transform their grand gallery into an awesome and breathtakingly beautiful twenty-first-century space. It will be­ a space ready to welcome and inspire a new generation of visitors.'

A story of hope

The blue whale is the largest-known animal to have ever lived on Earth, and has become a symbol of hope.

Driven to the brink of extinction by hunting, it was the first species that humans made a decision to save.

The skeleton has been on display in the Museum's Mammals gallery since 1935, after the female whale was stranded in 1891 at Wexford Harbour in Ireland.

It will be suspended in a diving position from the Hintze Hall ceiling, replacing the Diplodocus skeleton that previously stood in the centre of the space.

The dinosaur is being prepared for a UK tour, which starts in February 2018 at Dorset Country Museum and heads to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, the Great North Museum in Newcastle, National Museum Cardiff, Number One Riverside in Rochdale, and Norwich Cathedral.