Best Taxidermy Museum in the USA?

Submitted by James on 11/09/2003. ( )

I'm writing an article about museums around the country. Anyone know if there's an especially noteworthy taxidermy museum? Thanks.

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How about the Smithsonian

This response submitted by George on 11/09/2003. ( )

They're only a couple days from opening a completely new exhibit with exotic animals from all over the world done by the likes of John Matthews and Ken Walker. Doubt it get's much better than that.

It doesnt get any better!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 11/10/2003. ( )

I agree with George! Two top notch Taxidermists and a collection of mounts that surpasses anything - anywhere! I'd first look at the Smithsonian!

I always thought

This response submitted by RTF on 11/10/2003. ( )

Animal Artistry in Reno, NV was a museum in it's self.

museum {New York}

This response submitted by C.M on 11/10/2003. ( )

New York's Museum of Natural History has lots of killer mounts like a whole herd of elephants thundering down a huge corridor. I saw them for the first time at age 7 and I was hooked on taxidermy! They also have some of the biggest Bull Moose in a fighting scene plus many others, and they have a very large collection of Dino's too. I'm looking forward to my next visit there in 2004, hope they have added new ones by now 32 years later, lol. Check it out if your ever in that area, it's a must go too tourist attraction. Here's their web site:


This response submitted by The Rookie on 11/10/2003. ( NaturesTrophies@aol )

I know it's not a museum but some of the Cabela's stores have incredible taxidermy displays. The closest to me is in Dundee,Mi. They have an awesome mountian that depicts the four different seasons of the year on each side with different species all over it. I was talking to one of the staff from Van Dykes and she said said they're working on a new one in Salt Lake City(I think) and it's really suppose to be the best yet. It will feature a lot of Brian Hellman's work. Not sure if thats what you wanted to know but thats my 2 cents. Peace- Jeff F.

What do you mean by "Best"?

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 11/10/2003. ( )

I am unclear exactly what criteria you would be using to write about the best taxidermy museum. There are a number of books and even more articles written about Natural History Museums. The aspect you seem to be looking for (and that is a guess) is the museums that have the best Natural History Groups, what many refer to as Dioramas. There was an excellent article summarizing the large museums in the US with Significant Dioramas in Wildlife Art (magazine) a few years ago. Not surprising the best of these type museums exist in larger cities as they would have sufficient funds to make the expense involved in these major undertakings. The Smithsonian, as noted above, is just opening a major mammal hall, but ten years ago it would have been an embarrassment to call the exhibits good.

In my opinion the other nine of the top ten best museums in the United States would be (in approximate order by quality and size and diversity) would be:
The American Museum of Natural History - New York
The Denver Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History - Chicago
The Milwaukee Public Museum
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Pittsburgh
The California Academy of Sciences - San Francisco
The LA County Museum of Natural History
The Bell Museum of Natural History - Minneapolis
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.....

The next tier down in quality/size/diversity but would be the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, University of Kansas, LSU Museum of Natural Science, University of Michigan Museum in Ann Arbor, The Museum of Comparative Zoology in Harvard, Florida Museum of Natural History, etc., not necessarily in that order.

The Field Museum...

This response submitted by marty on 11/10/2003. ( )

...from a historical standpoint, has got to have one of the oldest and most diverse collections of animals. It's kinda neat to see some of these mounts that are upwards of 100 years old and still look relatively good. And, no U.P.S.'g an elephant form back then either - LOL!

But, some of the mounts are in dire need of repair and have been this way for quite some time. So I doubt that they're going to be repaired any time soon.

AAlthough I dont like Bass Pro shop

This response submitted by JOhn C on 11/10/2003. ( )

They have a huge collection if animals some good mounts some not so good. but a large number of animals none the less. The Museum at Point Lookout MO also has a pretty nice collection of song and insectivorious birds.

My choice

This response submitted by Bill Haynes on 11/10/2003. ( )

I know most of you guys have never heard of this one,The Regar Museum of Natural History in Anniston,Alabama. Visits to this museum some 60 years ago was my inspiration to become a taxidermist.They have one of the finest collections of birds of all the museums I have ever visited.

Don't forget Paul Ryhmer.....

This response submitted by Randal R. Waites on 11/10/2003. ( )

Don't forget Paul Ryhmer's name, when you mention the Smithsonian, along with, John Matthews and Ken Walker. He has been there a while, doing articles in Taxidermy Today, while working on this project at the Smithsonian.

Nice post Stephen, now if I could just find a grant to go and research all those museums, I would be living large.

Thanks Randal

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 11/11/2003. ( )

Besides collecting older taxidermy literature, I also collect books on museums and exhibit brochures. I have extensive literature pertaining to all ten of the major museums including photos of the dioramas (besides dozens of other museums around the world). Most of the literature in the old days also listed the taxidermists who preparaed the major works of art. I certainly hope that the Smithsonian will list the taxidermists/background painters/ foreground artists in the label of each diorama. Our Museum, and most I know of, are removing this important information. It would be like displaying a Renoir or a Da Vinci without a label. It would be Shameless in my mind if they don't credit the artists.

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