Whale Museum Closes

Maybe the big guys went north? No, these whales are dead

BY JORGE A. RUIZ-ESPARZA

With only a bit more than a month having passed after the closure of La Paz’s popular whale museum, we feel it’s been gone longer. We were only warned early in July or we might have copped some souvenirs. Just kidding, we don’t pick off museum pieces.

Our whale museum was recognized as the one with the largest variety of whale specimens in all of Latin America. It was perhaps deemed small for a museum in general if you’re used to going to the Smithsonian, but enormous for locals, whale-lovers, and scientists.

The mere location of the museum rendered it iconic, as 30 out of the 86 cetacean species on earth are found on this peninsula and 28 specifically in the bay of La Paz. You don’t usually find such a diverse ecosystem. But that didn’t stop the museum from closing. It was very visible right on the Malecon.

The exhibition pieces are being stored in someone’s house. Some pieces will be sent to other museums and some kept here in the state, but right now they’re sorting what goes, what goes into storage.

 Opening a new museum is still in the discussion stage, or possibly already planned but they’re not telling the public. The idea of using the former desalination plant has been considered and that possibility still exists, though the distance from the historic downtown center to the former desal plant would possibly cut down on potential visitors.

The amount of cetaceans would probably be few in comparison to the original collection of 88 specimens, 48 of which were exhibited during the existence of the museum. As a result, the right to brag for being a museum with a notably large amount of whale species would be lost unless more specimens were to be bought or donated. The chances of that are increasingly slim, since no physical site exists. Either way, the director still plans for the museum to be reopened within the municipality of La Paz if possible, but by no means outside of the state of Baja California Sur.

For now each artifact is stored away in an undisclosed private residence until a new location is confirmed. The main website is still up and running though it has not had any activity or updates since the museum was closed. Their official Facebook page, on the other hand, has grown weary of this controversy and all the questions and is periodically informing followers of the entire process and of the state of the artifacts, along with information on similar museums around the country. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that BCS gets another whale museum soon.