If you’ve ever visited the Museum of Natural History, you might have wondered whether the animals on display are real or not. It’s a common question that many visitors ask themselves. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and shed some light on the behind-the-scenes of the museum.
What is the Museum of Natural History?
Before we dive into the main topic, let’s take a moment to understand what the Museum of Natural History is and what it represents. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is one of the largest museums in the world, located in New York City. It was founded in 1869 and has been a center for scientific research, education, and exhibition ever since.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 33 million specimens ranging from animals, plants, fossils, minerals to cultural artifacts. Its mission is to discover, interpret and share knowledge about human cultures and the natural world.
Are the Animals Real?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Some animals on display are real while others are not.
The museum has a vast collection of animal specimens ranging from birds, mammals, reptiles to insects. Many of these specimens are preserved through taxidermy – a process that involves preserving an animal’s skin and mounting it onto a model.
The taxidermy process allows for an animal to be displayed as if it were alive in its natural habitat. It also helps researchers study animal behavior from a closer perspective without disturbing their natural habitats or endangering species.
However, not all animals on display are real specimens. Some displays consist of models made from materials such as fiberglass or plastic. These models replicate an animal’s appearance but lack any biological material like skin or fur.
Why Use Models?
Using models allows for greater flexibility when displaying certain animals that may be difficult or impossible to obtain. For example, displaying a blue whale or dinosaur would be impossible without using models. It also allows for more dynamic displays, such as showing an animal in motion or in a specific pose.
Models also provide an opportunity for the museum to educate visitors about animals that may no longer exist or are endangered. For example, the museum’s Dodo bird display uses a model to show visitors what this extinct bird looked like.
In conclusion, while not all animals at the Museum of Natural History are real specimens, many of them are preserved through taxidermy. The use of models is also prevalent and provides a unique opportunity for the museum to educate visitors about animals that may no longer exist or are endangered.
Regardless of whether an animal is real or not, the Museum of Natural History remains an impressive institution that continues to inspire and educate visitors from around the world.