Have you ever been to a whaling museum? I have.
Whaling is a type of hunting that has been banned in some countries. People started hunting whales at least 4,000 years ago. People hunted these sea creatures for their meat, oil, bones and blubber, which were used in past centuries for food and light as well as soap.
As whale-hunting improved with new ships in the 20th century, many whale groups were overhunted, and some neared extinction. And that’s why commercial whaling was banned in 1986. There are still some countries that kill the whales, and I hope that it one day ends.
My class last year went to Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and we did a scavenger hunt. For each class, there were three to four different groups in each class. First we had to go into four different rooms and one person in the group had a checklist and the rest of the group looked for things while the person checked it off the list.
There was one room that showed how sea turtles can get stuck in trash. There were three little boxes that you could lift up, and they all had stenches of what whales smelled like, and they smelled really bad. The second room had a huge ship, glass shelves with things in them and stamps. The third room simulated what a cabin would look like on a ship. There was food, antique money and very old pictures of people.
In the last room we didn’t have to find anything. We just had to observe a whale skull and a big baby bottle. This represented how many ounces and pounds a whale drank. The room that we started in had things that sailors and their families would use on the ship. One item that they used a lot was a harpoon. After we observed them, we carved designs onto a little white box. We did this to simulate what it’s like to carve a whale’s tooth. We did this because when people were on their boats, that’s what they did for fun when they were bored.
The Cold Spring Harbor museum was really fun. You should go with your class or go on your own.
Info: 279 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, cshwhalingmuseum.org
Melissa Harechmak’s fifth-grade class, Landing Elementary School, Glen Cove