The Museu da Baleia da Madeira (Madeira Whale museum) is located in the village of Caniçal. The village was the former centre of the whaling industry until the ban on whaling in 1981.
The museum is located in a modern building on the outskirts of Canical and is home to permanent and temporary exhibitions.
At the reception, you receive a headphone set which you wear throughout the exhibition. By selecting your language , you get explanation about each of the exhibits in your own language.
The permanent exhibitions occupy over 1000m2 divided into the following 2 rooms:
Exhibition 1: The whaling room:
In this room, you are transported back to the 1940s where you get to discover the whaling industry of Madeira.
The room is divided in different thematic areas ranging from the lookout network to the factory processing the whales to the different hunting techniques.
Over the years, the Madeira coastal lookout network was established with the building of lookout posts along the coast of Madeira, in the Desertas Islands and the island of Porto Santo. These lookout posts allowed the full coverage of the seas of this archipelago up to 15 miles allowing them to spot whales in all directions.
In the late 1940s, EBAM constructed of a modern factory which industrialized the processing of the whales. The museum has an old film showcasing the entire process, but also explaining the products that were obtained from the whales.
In this room, you find 2 original whaling boats and a mosaic of 84 photographs honorring the whalers
It was hard to believe that these giants were hunted with boats often much smaller than the whales themselves. In this room, you also find the harpoon tip used in John Huston's film Moby Dick with some of the scene's filmed in Caniçal with the help from the local whalers.
The harpoon tip is the original one used by Gregory peck (Captain Habab) in the confrontation with Moby Dick.
In the museum are also plenty of examples of Scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is scrollwork, engravings, and carvings done in bone or ivory, artwork created by the whalers engraved on the by products of the whales such as bones and cartilage.
Exhibition 2: Whales around Madeira
In this exhibition, you dive into the vast sea and learn all about whales, dolphins and other sea creatures. Among the spectacular full-size models of whales, dolphins,... you can explore several stereoscopic 3D movies.
Enter the submarine and dive into the vast ocean, a guaranteed hit with kids. The museum is well thought out and educates visitors on the history of whaling and how it provided a living for many families in Madeira , but it also educates us on the current treats for these majestic creatures.
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We are Peter & Dolores De Bie. We love the great outdoors, discovering new parts of the world and writing about our adventures along the Wild Atlantic Way and further afield