GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Starting today, Florida Museum of Natural History visitors have the opportunity to take an up-close look at humpback whales in the new “Hope for Humpbacks” exhibit.

Humpback mother and calf
A female humpback whale swims with her young calf. Mother and calf maintain a close relationship until they part ways nearly a year after birth. ©Photo courtesy of Captain Gene Flipse/Conscious Breath Adventures

This gallery exhibition features high-resolution images of humpback whales in the wild, courtesy of Capt. Gene Flipse with Conscious Breath Adventures, as well as the story behind building Humphrey, the 26-foot-long juvenile male whale skeleton on display in front of the museum’s “Discovery Zone” exhibit.

The free exhibit also features an interactive touch-table, including a slideshow of the whale bone assembly process, whale songs and video clips, and a ceramic whale model built to scale.

“Hope for Humpbacks” explains coordinated efforts to ensure the continued survival of these threatened gentle giants while allowing visitors to gain a greater appreciation for these creatures, inside and out.

“Humpback whales were once endangered but many populations are now healthy and even growing, due in part to changes in human behavior, increased awareness and improved monitoring,” said Tina Choe, exhibit developer. “Their conservation and recovery requires action on a global scale.”

A seven-person team spent about seven months assembling Humphrey, and he was rearticulated as part of the museum’s 100th anniversary exhibit in 2017. The museum’s mammals collection housed 259 of the bones while five had to be 3-D printed to complete the skeleton.

For more information, visit or call 352-846-2000.


Writer: Nikhil Srinivasan, 352-273-2034,
Source: Tina Choe, 352-273-2079,
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,