When it comes to museums, one of the most fascinating exhibits is undoubtedly the collection of animals displayed at the Museum of Natural History. Many visitors often wonder whether the animals on display are real or not.
The answer is yes, they are real, but they are not alive. So, how did these animals end up in a museum? The answer lies in one word – ‘taxidermy.’
Taxidermy: What is it?
Taxidermy refers to the art of preserving animal bodies using various techniques. The word taxidermy comes from two Greek words, ‘taxis’ meaning arrangement and ‘derma’ meaning skin.
In essence, taxidermy involves removing the skin of an animal, preserving it using chemicals, and then mounting it on a mannequin. Taxidermists use a variety of methods such as tanning, stuffing, and sculpting to create a visually accurate representation of the animal.
The Animals at the Museum of Natural History: Are They Taxidermy?
If you’ve ever visited the Museum of Natural History, you’ll know that it houses an extensive collection of animals from around the world. From elephants to gorillas to butterflies and beetles – there’s something for everyone.
But are these animals real or made from synthetic materials? The answer is that they are indeed real!
The specimens on display at the museum have been obtained through various means such as donations by individuals or institutions and collecting expeditions organized by scientists. These animals are then sent to expert taxidermists who carefully preserve and mount them.
The Process Behind Preserving Animals For Display
The process of taxidermy is intricate and involves several steps that require expertise and precision.
Step 1: Skinning
The first step in taxidermy involves removing the skin from an animal’s body without damaging it. This requires a skilled hand.
A taxidermist will make small incisions around the animal’s limbs and carefully peel away the skin. The skin is then cleaned and tanned to prevent decay.
Step 2: Mounting
Once the skin has been tanned, it is time to mount it on a mannequin. Taxidermists use materials such as wire, foam, and clay to create a mannequin that represents the animal’s body shape accurately. The skin is then carefully stretched over the mannequin and sewn into place.
Step 3: Finishing Touches
The final step involves adding finishing touches to make the display look as realistic as possible. This includes adding glass eyes, painting details such as spots or stripes, and even adding artificial saliva or tears in some cases.
Why Preserve Animals For Display?
The purpose of preserving animals for display at museums like the Museum of Natural History is to educate visitors about different species and their habitats. These displays allow people to see animals up close that they may not have had an opportunity to encounter in real life. It also helps researchers study these animals for scientific purposes such as learning about their behavior and anatomy.
- The Bottom Line:
In conclusion, taxidermy is an intricate art form that allows us to preserve animals for educational purposes. The animals on display at the Museum of Natural History are indeed real but have gone through a process of preservation to make them suitable for exhibition purposes. So, next time you visit a museum with taxidermy displays, you’ll know what went into creating them!