Vacuuming an Enormous Fake Blue Whale

Once a year, the American Museum of Natural History in New York performs a banal yet oddly fascinating ritual: It cleans its life-size model of a blue whale. It is a job almost as big as the whale itself. Exhibition maintenance manager Trenton Dureksen spent three days in a cherrypicker, sucking dust off the 94-foot-long cetacean with an ordinary hepa filter vacuum cleaner. He started Monday, and by the time he reached the nose on Thursday, he’d emptied more than a half dozen vacuum bags of dust.

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