The short (3 minute) video below explains the process of collecting and displaying whales. Per the YouTube description:
Seeing a massive skeleton on display in a museum gallery is the last step in a long journey from living animal to educational specimen. Where do these animals come from and how are they collected and prepared?
This video takes you behind the scenes at one of the world’s largest collections of marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
More information at A Century of Whales at the Smithsonian Institution:
Since the nineteenth century, the Smithsonian has also been at the forefront of whale exhibition. Phoenix—a 45-foot, 2300-pound, full-scale model of the Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and the centerpiece of the new Sant Ocean Hall—is the culmination of over a century’s-worth of innovation in the scientific casting and modeling of whales.