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. Best, Ophelia - 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?