The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a place of never-ending inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history and culture.
The finback whale skeleton has been a beloved artifact for many years. This mammoth skeleton was acquired by the GRPM in 1905 from the estate of Dr. Jacob W. Velie of St. Joseph, Michigan. Velie acquired it on a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the whale had washed ashore. Measuring about 75 feet in length, the fin or finback whale was a mature adult weighing between 80 and 90 tons. Shaped for speed and endurance, this large baleen mammal is native to the deeper waters of the world’s oceans.
The Meet Finny kiosk allows you to come face to face with Finny in the Finny Virtual Reality experience. An HTC Vive headset and hand controls are available to put on and spend a few minutes interacting with Finny in whales’ natural environment. See Finny swimming around as you stand on the ocean floor, and learn about whale anatomy through the layers of its body. As you look through the headset, small targets will be seen on the whale, that allow you to click and learn more about fin whales. Learn about Finny’s blubber layer, internal organs and skeleton! Additionally, you can interact with two video touchscreens to learn more about Finny and fin whales in general. You can explore the history of Finny, how this artifact came to the Museum and see images of Finny throughout history, as well as interact with scientific findings about fin whales, including what they eat, how big they are and more!