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Writer, Looking For Taxidermists To Interview

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Ophelia, May 27, 2020.

  1. Ophelia

    Ophelia New Member

    Dear everyone,
    I hope you’re all doing well. Please allow me to introduce myself: I’m a writer working on a novel. I’ve always loved cabinets of curiosities and taxidermy so I made my main character a taxidermy conservator in a Natural History Museum who's conserving a taxidermied hippo.

    I want to portray the taxidermy world as accurately as possible and I can only do that with the help of experts such as yourselves.

    I’ve posted a few questions below, please feel free to respond to any or all of these questions if you’re so inclined. I’m happy to hear from anyone who is willing to be interviewed for my research.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and I wish you all the best.

    - Why do you love taxidermy?
    - If you didn’t become a taxidermist, what do you think you would have done instead?
    - Do you ever feel you have a special “relationship” with your specimens? do they ever frighten you? Do you talk to them? Are they good companions?
    - Can you share your most fascinating taxidermy-related stories?
    - Can you describe the smells and senses associated with taxidermy and your workshop?
    - What are some of the rarest taxidermied animals?
    - To what extent can fire-damaged taxidermy be restored?
    - What is the main difference between taxidermy and taxidermy conservation (apart from the obvious)?
    - Is there a difference between in the taxidermy from different parts of the world, e.g. American vs European? What is the difference?
    - Am I correct to understand that the only thing from the original animal which is used in taxidermy is its skin, and its horns/antlers - all other parts are artificial?
    - How long does it take to taxidermise large mammals such as a hippo?
    - What is the hardest specimen to taxidermise?
    - What do you look for when assessing if taxidermy is well done?
    - How do you feel about the taxidermy found in Natural History Museums?
    - Have you ever sold taxidermy to a museum? What was that experience like?
    - How has taxidermy changed much over the years? How do you think taxidermy will continue to change in the years to come?
  2. You are asking the right questions. For a start.

  3. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    Good questions but .... Most writers want to experience the "life". For example .... If one is writing about a fishing village in the Northwest, they have to go to that village and absorb the character there..... to make their story authentic .... like they were there.... to describe the smells that THEY smell. So .... my recommendation is to spend some time in a taxidermy shop observing .... to make your writing authentic.


    George, RoeBuck and magicmick like this.
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Not only that, but you are also talking about a taxidermist in a museum setting. That will be far different than a taxidermist working on sportsmens trophies.
    magicmick likes this.
  5. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    Greetings Ophelia,

    There actually are only a handful of taxidermists in the US that would be brought in to conserve an antique/historic hippo. There are only a couple large Natural History Museums left that employ a taxidermist but many that have a conservator (though most conservators are art conservators – very few concentrate on taxidermy specimens). Many museums might bring in a private independent taxidermist who specializes in conservation/restoration of specimens to work with their on-site natural history conservator. One private taxidermist who has been contracted by multiple large museums for this sort of work is George Dante. See his Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/georgedante/

    As Kerby suggested, a visit to his studio and the see him operating for a few days would be useful if not imperative. Likely he is very busy and would not have the time for it, but you may be able to contact him by phone and spend some time discussing your queries. To type out responses to your questions would take hours. George may suggest others who you could talk with.

    Good luck on your work. 99.9% of the public have no idea what goes on in a taxidermy studio, so you could probably fake it easily. A good writer wants to satisfy even the most ardent readers though.
    George, magicmick and joeym like this.
  6. Ophelia

    Ophelia New Member

    Hi everyone,
    Thank you so much for all your replies and suggestions. I really do want to get it right, even if not many people would be able to tell, and I am also genuinely interested in learning more about goes behind taxidermy, since it's been something I've always admired from afar.

    But thank you for all your thoughts nevertheless and for pointing me to George Dante too, I will follow-up on these leads and hopefully will come out of it at least a more educated!!
    Thanks again.
  7. Allie

    Allie Active Member

    You might also read Melissa Milgrom's book "Still Life, Adventures in Taxidermy" and watch the new movie "Stuffed". "BIG FUR" is another informative movie, but won't be released until August 11th.
    magicmick likes this.
  8. vic h

    vic h Active Member

    You should look into attending the World taxidermy Show that will be held in early 2001 . I believe it will be held somewhere in the Midwest. Every thing and everybody who could help you will be attending and all will be glad to help you with your project. Another thing that comes to mind is Breakthrough magazine, a magazine devoted totally to taxidermy. You can google it and contact any of the people there and I'm sure they will glad to help. Good luck!

    Vic Heincker
    Skywalker likes this.
  9. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    2021 lol
  10. vic h

    vic h Active Member

    Dang spell check!!! :D