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Schools For Museum Taxidermy?

Discussion in 'Training' started by JaneBirde, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. JaneBirde

    JaneBirde New Member

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    Hello taxidermists! I have a BS in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology and will be going on to do a MS soon. I have always been really interested in natural history museums and taxidermy, so I've been thinking about combining that passion with my background in science to pursue museum taxidermy. I would love some recommendations on training in this area or for a beginner in taxidermy in general. What are some good schools that provide a wide range of skills? Any that focus heavily on habitat or diorama making? Would prefer something in the Western US but I'm open to anything. Thanks!
     
  2. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Museum staff Taxidermist are essentially extinct. There are only a few left in the US.

    With the current pc attitude towards museum taxidermy displays, this outlook will not get better.
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    We have several of the museum folks on here (Carnegie, as well as others). Perhaps they can offer some insight if they see the post. If you have one of the museums near to you, you didn't put in your bio where you are located, go there personally and ask in that department about internship there. You could also try and ask at any of your local taxidermists shops but expect to be turned away as they don't want to be training possible competition. :) Read all you can as there are several decent books on the subject. You will need to learn tanning skills as well as skinning and proper hide care and prep. Habitat is a small part of it. My personal hangout is Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge as well as the Museum of Comparative Zoology which is in the same building sort of but hidden from view. I do not know who would be in charge of Collections now but try asking at [email protected]. Ask for who is currently in charge of the exhibits. There are no new taxidermy specimens/displays there but perhaps one of the current old timers might offer some insight in how you would get into the field. It can not hurt to ask. You can also look up other museums that do new exhibits and ask the same question.
     
  4. The Denver Natural History museum has a fantastic taxidermy section with some very well done mounts. You can always contact the museum and see if they will give your information to the taxidermists they used. The AMNH is also a good contact point.
     
  5. Brandr

    Brandr New Member

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    I use to do crude taxidermy myself for rodent skins, and skeleton cleaning as well. Harvard is one of the last places that have a huge and extensive natural resource museum. I would also say perhaps try the University of South Western New Mexico. They were taking a 5000 order from us, which wasn't finished in the 4 years I was with that university.
     
  6. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    The University I attended had a museum preparations room. I worked in there for 3 years. I did a lot of bird study skins and ran a lot of bones through the beetles.
     
  7. Brandr

    Brandr New Member

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    Oh nice!! I really wish I could have done study skins with birds but, regs and rules for UNH were restrictive and there were no large programs at the time that were interested in that (worked in a small mammal lab myself).
    I would say when it comes to cleaning bones, if you have the space and the patience beetles all they way. I find the bones that go through them are ultimately better and you can control how much connective tissue and cartilage is eaten. I do get the same kind of feeling of control with other methods. Plus they are gentle on a lot of different kinds of bones.