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Two Weeks left to see Carnegie Museum Exhibit on Taxidermy

Discussion in 'Taxidermy History' started by Taxidermologist, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. The Temporary Exhibit "Stuffed Animals: The Art and Science of Taxidermy," which opened last May, has only two weeks remaining. The exhibit was a companion piece to a special exhibit in the Carnegie Museum of Art and was placed in Sculpture Hall inside the Art Museum - complete with marble columns and classical art around the balcony. The perfect place to exhibit the Art of Taxidermy. I made mention of this exhibit in the old Forum, but now with the new format provided by WASCO, I can (hopefully!) place pictures to perhaps entice people to see the exhibit before it is gone.

    The exhibit was based on a manuscript I had written (not yet finished) on the history of taxidermy at Carnegie Museum as it related to the evolution of the art form in America. The museum was at the forefront of many improvements in taxidermy and had connections with some of the founding members of the Boone and Crockett Club (which was based here in the 1960s into the 1970s), some great past taxidermists - Frederic Webster, Remi Santens, Joseph Santens, who worked here, some current artists who have worked here - Joe Kish, Forest Hart, Tom Duran, and some excellent taxidermists who didn't get the notariety they deserved - Harold Clement, Gus Link Sr., Gus Link Jr., Otto Epping, and Patrick Martin. Many of these artists have pieces in the exhibit or elswhere in the museum.

    The designer used my manuscript and with help from staff planned an exhibit to tell the story of taxidermy. A model was built since the window for the space was such that one exhibit had to be removed and within one week an entire exhibit platform had to be assembled in the this space. A student intern and the exhibit designer made this model below


    A photo of the front portion of the exhibit is posted below. It gives examples of some taxidermy pieces mounted by various Carnegie taxidermists, tells briefly the story of Peale's Museum, the Ward's Natural Science Establishment, how current taxidermy has evolved into the sculpture, the influence of William T. Hornaday, and J. W. Elwood and his school of taxidermy begun in 1903. There is even a section on steroviews with viewers. In the 1870s and 1880s, using taxidermy specimens as models was the only way photography could be made of outdoor scenes. You can examine exact copies of 20 some stereoviews from my collection, some done by James Hurst, Martha Maxwell, and of course our own Frederic Webster.


    The photo below shows a number of other themes. The most obvious is the difference between a stuffed specimen and the sculptured pieces of art, which taxidermy at American museums became between the years 1900 to 1920. The white rhino on the left was contracted out to Gerrard and Son in England, the second leading taxidermy firm in England in the late Victorian years. It was the first White Rhino exhibited in North America, and in fact, a horrible mount. The Black Rhino on the left was mounted by Remis Santens from a specimen collected in 1909–1910. The plaster model used to base the sculpture is exhibited as well as a photo of the sculpted manikin before the paper-thin hide was applied.

    The wallaper in this section is a huge copy of an X ray of an Ocelot circa 1890 which was a "Stuffed Animal." There are other X rays on the left showing wiring schemes in birds mounted from 1870 to about 1914, and a freeze-dried red squirrel and an albino squirrel done by a 10-year-old who used Elwood's course and eventually sold the mount to The Carnegie.

    One panel explains how the coyote on the right was mounted using a paper form created from a sculpted body — compared to the snap-it-together manikin specimen from McKenzie with a mouth cup and artificial ears.


    One series exhibited in this space shows the evolution of wood duck taxidermy showing the old wiring scheme and simplistic base from the Victorian era with no paint on the bill, an excelsior body with a wire cloth base with papier mache and oil paints on the bill, a more modern version (one I use with a balsa wood body), latex paints, a foam base covered with artificial soil, and then the current short-cut method of a specimen using a manikin from WASCO made by Frank having artificial feet, artificial neck, artificial body, artificial head, i. e., plastic taxidermy. Photo below.


    The back part of the exhibit shows a number of other themes. Reptile and amphibian taxidermy, Wardian furniture (named after Wards of London who started using animal parts for ash trays, humidors, serving trays).


    The back view of the exhibit, shown below, has panels touting the vision of taxidermists in becoming conservationists and leading the country towards responsible management of wildlife and lands, talks about endangered species and extinct species, the role taxidermy plays in education, and shows examples of old taxidermy of a Gorilla - 1898, compared to the method of hair transference of a gorilla exhibited in African Hall. The steps involved are illustrated in photos.


    If anyone has come through the Museum this summer and saw the exhibit, please add any favorable comments you might have. The story is too big to be covered throughly, but it gives the casual museum visitor an insight into the world of taxidermy.

    Lastly, my 15 minutes of fame (as mentioned in the post in the archives of the old Taxidermy.net) are almost done. This week a brief interview, a "conversation" I had with a reporter last week, made it into the City Paper. Here is the link:


    I would like to thank WASCO for all they do for the Taxidermy Industry, and especially Mr. Edwards, who hopefully has found a way for me to post these pictures. I won't know until I see it...
  2. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Thank you! That's just awesome!


  3. The Taxidermologist

    The Taxidermologist New Member

    I actually did sign in when I started to compose the message, but it took me 1 1/2 hours to finish the, and then the wife came up and corrected some of my bad English. 2 hours before it was done properly - which is why I don't post long winded explanations much. (I would much rather point out the orange button - oh wait - we have no orange button)
  4. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    ROFL!!! Boy I gotta agree with ya there, but it's a great post, hopefully everyone will look.
  5. Nina Lukaszewicz

    Nina Lukaszewicz Outdoor Dreams Taxidermy

    I live close to the Carnegie Museum, I was going to go to see this, but never got around to it yet. looks awesome though
  6. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Great article Taxidermologist...I always wondered who you were or your background. I wish we could get there to see it...but my wife is a college professor, so we could not possibly consider it in the middle of the fall semester! Again, that is a great post...I appreciate you taking the time to put it together
  7. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    Great job , wish I was closer , I would come to see it. I have a idea so many of us could see and read about the exhibit. You need to do a article for Breakthrough magazine. What do you think ?
  8. Ken Edwards

    Ken Edwards Taxidermy.Net Administrator Staff Member

    Very nice! Taxidermologist, it's a shame that this post won't be attributed to you on your profile, since you submitted it as a guest. How about that avatar? Have you made a decision yet?
  9. AntlerAddict

    AntlerAddict So many whitetails...So little time!

    Awesome job and incredible exhibit!!! I hope this becomes a trend in museums. The art of taxidermy should be celebrated more in the mainstream. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Stephen, I was just down there this spring and didnt see a darn thing about an upcoming taxidermy exhibit, they had the bog people when I was there, it was ok, but I still love the taxidermy floor the best, someday when I'm at the museum i'm going to look you up. Derek (Croc)
  11. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Dang,,, I missed the display by two and a half years.
  12. Monte

    Monte Missouri fur-Limited hair-tanning

    Thank you very much, can you get an extention of time for the display???
  13. Ted B

    Ted B Active Member

    LMAO...T where did u dig this one up from?

    Anybody else notice that the Taxidermologist looks alot like Adam Savage from Mythbusters ???
  14. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    What will happen to the exhibit??
    Is it headed somewhere else?
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I couldn't find anything on where this exhibit is today, who knows, it's probably parked back in Carnegie Museum of Art today.
  16. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    This was only a temporary exhibit in the Museum of Natural History to go along with an Art Museum exhibit in cross promotion of the building. The specimens are all still in our collections. I did retain much of the graphics from the museum.

    A few museums create exhibits and attempt to fund them by shipping them from one venue to another and charge fairly large fees for the exhibit rental. Our museum has not yet entered that arena which entails much larger exhibits staff and space than we are able to afford.

    I don't think one member of the Taxidermy.net visited the temporary exhibit while it was here.
  17. Wayne R

    Wayne R NRA and B&C Life Member

    Where has the Taxidermologist been anyways? Always thought he had very informative posts.
  18. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    He is still around. He just doesn't post as The Taxidermologist very often. I think his posts were okay but his was a bit over the top at times....
  19. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Who are you kidding? you are he. We all get over the top sometimes.
  20. Wayne R

    Wayne R NRA and B&C Life Member

    Now that is funny. Learn something new every day.