Killer Whale Articulation Project

killer whale skeleton
A magnificent juvenile orca skeleton is now on permanent display in the Gustavus Community Library.

NPS / S. Schaller

Glacier Bay killer whale articulation project
A collaboration between Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Geographic, Gustavus Community Library, Gustavus School, bone specialist Lee Post, and many Gustavus community volunteers.

In February 2014, a 12 ft. juvenile killer whale skeleton was put on display in the Gustavus Public Library.This female specimen was found dead in Glacier Bay in 2005. Her entire skeleton was collected and preserved for educational purposes. The park partnered with well-known Articulation Specialist, Lee Post, the Gustavus Public Library, the Gustavus School, and Alaska Geographic to complete the articulation and installation. The Gustavus School staff and students were thrilled to host the articulation project on site. They had the opportunity to watch Lee's daily progress and take part in educational programming. The high school students painted the cast teeth in the display.

To see this rare and unique specimen, be sure to stop by the Gustavus Public Library during your visit to Glacier Bay. You can view the whale six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Please call 697-2350 for daily hours of operation.

killer whale project



"From Discovery to Display"

Loading the player...
Visit JWPlayer docs for keyboard shortcuts
14 minutes, 52 seconds

Enjoy a montage of images and music highlighting the many years of work and partnerships that culminated with the installation of a magnificent juvenile orca skeleton display in the Gustavus Community Library. 


There are many steps to putting a killer whale back together!

Discovered in Glacier Bay

Discovery and Retrieval

A small, juvenile female killer whale, approximately 12 ft. long and 5 years old, was found dead on Young Island in Glacier Bay on August 26

A multi-year process

Cleaning and Preparation

Park staff spend years cleaning and preparing a killer whale skeleton for articulation.

Articulation Specialist Lee Post to the Rescue

Articulation and Installation

The skeleton is articulated in the Gustavus School woodshop. Many students and community members assist.

Celebrating the culmination of nine years of work

Open House and Celebration

Tlingit elders perform a blessing ceremony and give the whale her name, Keet'k, which means "little killer whale."

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 140
Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

Contact Us