Are the Animals Real at the Natural History Museum?

If you’ve ever visited a natural history museum, you’ve probably marveled at the impressive animal displays. From towering elephants to graceful gazelles, these exhibits are designed to showcase the wonders of the animal kingdom. But have you ever wondered whether the animals on display are real

The answer is a bit complicated. While some animals at natural history museums are indeed real, many more are not. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into creating these fascinating exhibits.

Real Animals

First and foremost, it’s important to note that some animals on display at natural history museums are real. Typically, these animals have been preserved through a process called taxidermy. Taxidermy involves carefully removing an animal’s skin and stuffing it with materials like cotton or foam.

Once the skin has been prepared, it can be mounted on a mannequin or other support structure. The result is an incredibly lifelike representation of the animal in question.

However, it’s worth noting that taxidermy can be an expensive and time-consuming process. As a result, many museums opt to use replicas instead of real animals for their exhibits.


Replicas come in many forms, from simple models made of plastic or resin to highly detailed sculptures crafted by skilled artisans. In most cases, replicas are used because they offer several advantages over real animals.

For one thing, replicas can be created in any pose or position that the museum desires. This allows curators to showcase specific aspects of an animal’s anatomy or behavior that might not be possible with a real specimen.

Additionally, replicas don’t decay like real animals do. Over time, even well-preserved specimens can begin to deteriorate and lose their lifelike appearance. Replicas, on the other hand, can last indefinitely as long as they’re properly cared for.

Of course, there are downsides to using replicas as well. For one thing, they don’t have the same level of detail and texture as real animals. Additionally, some visitors may feel disappointed if they discover that the animals they’re seeing aren’t real.


So, are the animals at natural history museums real The answer is that it depends.

Some of them are indeed real, preserved through taxidermy. However, many more are replicas created to provide an accurate and long-lasting representation of these incredible creatures.

Regardless of whether an animal on display is real or not, natural history museums remain fascinating places to explore. From the smallest insects to the largest mammals, these exhibits provide a glimpse into the vast and incredible world of the animal kingdom.