Now Playing at the Putnam: Narwhals: Revealing an Arctic Legend
The Putnam Museum and Science Center is thrilled to host the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Narwhals: Revealing an Arctic Legend. From their depiction in the 1500s as angry sea monsters to their status as icons of pop culture today, the narwhal, with its unique spiral tusk, has inspired legend in Inuit and European society and fascinated people across cultures for centuries. This mysterious animal and its changing ecosystem are highlighted in this Smithsonian traveling exhibition.
Developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and its Arctic Studies Center and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition explores interdisciplinary research conducted about the narwhal by Smithsonian scientists, in collaboration with Arctic researchers and members of Inuit communities, about the narwhal in their rapidly changing Arctic environment. The exhibition uses firsthand accounts from these scientists and Inuit community members to reveal how traditional knowledge and experience, coupled with scientific research, heighten the understanding of narwhals and the changing global climate.
Featuring an 18-foot, life-size model of a male narwhal, the exhibition examines “the unicorn of the sea.” Visitors will learn what the narwhal tusk is for, test their tooth knowledge, examine a cast of a skull from a prehistoric narwhal relative, and compare the different ways that narwhals and their whale relatives have adapted to the Arctic environment. Panoramic images of landscapes and a soundscape of narwhal vocalizations, ice and water flows and other Arctic wildlife will immerse visitors in the Arctic environment of the narwhal. The exhibition highlights how the narwhal and its tusk have inspired medieval European unicorn imagery and legend. Visitors can read the Inuit legend of the narwhal, illustrated by artwork from Inuit community members. Audiences will learn what the Inuit have learned and how environmental changes are affecting the way of life for both narwhal and Inuit.
Exhibit admission is included in the price of general admission—$9 for adults, $8 for youth (ages 3-18), seniors, college students and military.
Narwhals: Revealing an Arctic Legend plays the Putnam now through April!
Learn more: NARWHAL