In an old Basque fishing port on the western Newfoundland coast lies artist Ben Ploughman’s quirky Museum of Whales and Things.
What are the “things”? Well, pretty much whatever Ploughman finds interesting, including several of his own artworks. The highlight is the almost fully-reconstructed skeleton of a sperm whale that washed up in Port Au Choix one morning in 1998. The artist was able to recover most of the bones and put them on display after the “Big Boil”, where the excess tissue was removed from the bones, and then the summer’s work of drying the pieces on the roof of his studio.
Also in the museum are skulls, bones, antlers, exhibits on various large-scale construction techniques, strings of Christmas lights, old lobster traps, lures, nets, sand dollars, old newspapers, magazine articles, and last but not least, Ploughman’s snowmobile.
Aside from the seaside memorabilia, Ploughman’s art is also more than worth a look, both in the museum and in his studio next door, especially for such pieces as “Crucifixion of the Cod” and “A Smirk for Mona or Lisa.” Most of Ploughman’s work is made up of hand-carved, hand-painted wooden pieces remade from old lobster trap wood. One of his more ambitious projects is his effort to raise enough cash to remake his piece “The Golden Cod” in actual gold, although this might require him catching an actual wish-granting fish.
In addition to the Museum of Whales and Things and Ploughman’s art studio, there is a small golf course behind the buildings which has been self-described as the “roughest and toughest extreme backyard fairway in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Whether you are a fan of whales, folk art, or golf, this attraction has you covered.
Know Before You Go
On the main drag in Port au Choix.