For thousands of years, humans along British Columbia’s coast have co-existed with one of the world’s most majestic and powerful ocean creatures: the whale. Today, these amazing creatures are one of the most revered marine mammals along our coast. We study their behavior, their acoustics and ways of communicating; we try to capture their majesty through photography, art, and writings; we track resident pods and identify individuals; and we aim to protect their environment. However, this has not always been the case.
How have our interactions with whales changed throughout history? Why do we now choose to shoot whales with cameras rather than harpoons? A Whale’s Tale, a featured exhibit at the Maritime Museum of BC, explores our ongoing fascination with the many different species of whales along our coast, our changing public attitudes and perceptions, the history of the whaling industry, and the ongoing challenges facing our coastal whale populations today.
Executive Director, David Leverton indicated that “this exhibit provides a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about the amazing diversity of whale species that inhabit our coastal waters and what is currently being done to protect them. It is hard to imagine that commercial whaling harvested over 24,000 whales in less than 120 years.” We have a range of interesting artefacts on display from our collection that help to tell the incredible story about each of these species and their ongoing struggle to survive especially during the past 150 years.”