Natural History Museum, Cetacean exhibit

museum, exhibit, interactive space

From June 11 2008 to may 25 2009, the Museum of Natural History organises in the « great gallery of evolution » a temporary exhibit called incredible cetaceans ( Incroyables Cétacés !).

For this occasion, Nokinomo realised 5 interactive devices to discover unknown aspects of cetaceans’ life.

Who eats what?

Can you recognize different preys that cetaceans feed on?

Paw devices

On the central platform are 3 different disks. On two of them are fixed the moulding of a pig’s paw and a dolphin’s fin. The third disk presents the silhouette of a hand.
Three radiographies of these limbs are integrated in the furniture. First, the system is turned off. When the visitor lays his hand on the silhouette of a hand, he turns the light on and the 3 radiographies appear.
See film of the system.

This sound belongs to whom?

Cetacean use specific sounds to communicate with each other (the famous whale songs) and scientists learn to understand the structure and meaning of these sounds. Each individual animal has his own acoustic signature as well as each small group of individuals.

The device allows to listen to 6 different cetaceans’ sounds and to associate them to a specific species. A button with six different positions each one corresponding to a specific song. Six buttons associated to a picture of the cetacean species can be pushed by the visitor when he recognizes the right animal.


Echolocalisation is a sort of sonar that exists in dolphins and bats. These animals use it to find their way and to detect their food.
The device consists in a synchronised animation of more then 300 LEDS. It shows the principle of emission and reception during echolocalisation.

Performing devices

Cetaceans can not breathe underwater. They have to come up regularly to the surface to take some air, but this does not prevent them from being remarkable divers. Some of them can stay more then an hour underwater.
This device allows the visitor to test how long he could dive compared to different species of cetaceans. He takes some air and then pushes a button while holding a button and lets it go when he breathes again. A watch calculates the time and a graphic showing diving times for various species of cetaceans lights up.