A few weeks ago, during the museum cleaning “blitz”, our beloved inflatable whale, Logan, was taken down from the Queens’ Lantern. Working at the front desk, I received so many questions daily from museum members and visitors. Where did the whale go? When will he be put back up? Is there going to be something replacing the whale?
I learned very quickly that everyone liked seeing something suspended in the glass enclosure. Luckily, I had the answers! The Queens’ Lantern was getting a new tenant—an enormous inflatable jellyfish!
On Monday, February 3, the day finally arrived— jellyfish installation day! I knew I wanted to be a part of it somehow so I started taking photos of the installation process and posted them on Twitter.
I watched as it was hoisted up and hauled across the top of the Lantern, inflated and then secured into place.
In an advantageous twist of fate, I even got to help the installers with the ropes used to pull the jellyfish into place. Thankfully, that’s all I had to do. I certainly did not envy the installer who had to dangle from the ceiling in order to secure the jellyfish.
In case you were wondering, it was made to resemble a species of jellyfish called Pelagia noctiluca, or a mauve stinger. I’ve heard someone say it looks like an alien, especially when it lights up at night. Someone else said it reminded them of a monster from an H.P. Lovecraft novel. Others say it looks like an octopus. A little boy asked me if it was a spider. Most people, though, recognize it right away as a jellyfish. Everyone agrees that it is super cool!
Why a jellyfish? Jellyfish are colourful and there are many varieties. Jellyfish have crazy anatomy; they don’t have brains or hearts. Some jellyfish are dangerous; they have venomous tentacles that can even kill a person. And some jellyfish glow in the dark!
On May 3, the museum will open a special exhibition called Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. The exhibition is about the plants and animals that, like certain jellyfish, produce their own light. I am certainly looking forward to discovering not only how they create light, but why they do it.
See you soon!