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Giant whale moves from Cornwall to Chatham & a Caption Competition is Launched!

16 March 2023

With just over a fortnight until Monsters of the Deep exhibition opens, our team have flexed their combined muscle and lifted a giant orca whale skeleton weighing in at 200 kgs (the weight of an upright piano) into place in No.1 Smithery – home to an exhibition that has been described as the most technically sophisticated and lavish sea monster-themed showcase ever produced.

The giant orca whale skeleton required four team members with ropes to move it into place.  We have shared the time-lapse of this gigantic move with our social media followers and asked them to caption it ahead of the opening of Monsters of the Deep.

Curated by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall with the National Oceanography Centre’s Discovery Collections, Monsters of the Deep at The Historic Dockyard Chatham promises to breathe life into the supernatural and show how the fantastical co-exists with science as we try to make sense of what lives down in the depths of the ocean.

The exhibition will open on Saturday 1st April. Prior to the opening, our team have been busy moving giant artefacts from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (in Falmouth) to here in Kent.


Mermaids, giant fish & Boaty McBoatface

The move has involved relocating a mermaid, a giant coelacanth, a scale-model of Boaty McBoatface, the orca whale skeleton and the rare Discovery Collections specimens – the real-life monsters from deep-sea exploration (the specimens have previously only been seen once before by the general public).

Nick Ball Collections, Galleries and Interpretation Manager says “it’s always exciting when we get to hang the artefacts and literally build an exhibition from the ground up, but this particular showcase is also demanding, complicated, intriguing and heavy!

Caption competition

“We have asked our social media followers to caption the lifting of the giant orca whale into place and are offering a family pass for a year to our winning caption. We will be asking Dr Tammy Horton (co-creator of the exhibition) to judge a winner!”

Monsters of the Deep will encourage the public to explore centuries-old myths and legends of mermaids, tales of deep-sea creatures, explore the fake news stories that proliferate today, and meet the real monsters of the deep housed in tall ‘bubbling’ enigmatic glass tubes containing specimens that will change the way visitors view sea ‘monsters’.

Nick Ball adds: “It’s a huge honour to have the giant orca, Boaty McBoatface, the coelacanth and the Discovery Collections (from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton) here and we are indebted to the team in Falmouth and to the co-creators of this incredible exhibition.”

Monsters of the Deep opens to the public from the 1st April

The public can send their caption competitions via our social pages:

Twitter: @dockyardChatham

Instagram: dockyard.chatham

Facebook: Historic Dockyard Chatham

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