Taxidermy evolved out of the tanning trade, whose practitioners preserved the skins of animals for use as clothing and blankets. In the early part of the 19th century, some of the first so-called trophy animals were crudely stuffed with scraps of fabric by upholsterers. Later in the Victorian Era, the art of taxidermy as we know it today evolved, pioneered by, among others, Carl Akeley, who worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Although Akeley was one of the leading innovators of taxidermy, excelling in the realistic mounting of mammals, later in his life he would reject the practice of bagging animals such as gorillas just so they could decorate a museum diorama, let alone a hunter's study. By the end of his life, Akeley had devoted himself to protecting these creatures—Africa's first national park was established in 1925 in no small part due his efforts.
Today, collectors of taxidermy have a range of animals and pieces to choose from. Gameheads are perhaps the most well known form of taxidermy. These include zebras, kudu, and other African animals whose heads are attached to pedestals that are designed to hang on a wall.
In the United States, the practice of mounting deer heads is very common, especially if it's a buck with a full rack of antlers. Complete animals known as full mounts tend to be of smaller species such as bobcats and fox, as well as skunks and raccoons.
Mounted fish is another popular taxidermy type. Birds from peacocks to pheasants to roosters mount well, too, as do quail and falcons.
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Recent News: Taxidermy
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Taxidermy Workshop at Nature MuseumDNAinfo, January 30th
LINCOLN PARK — Covering up freezer burn on a cardinal or a split lip on a polar bear is just another day on the job for Steve Sullivan. As the resident taxidermist for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Sullivan cares for the more than 250,000...Read more
Taxidermy Opportunity | Exhibition Coming To Rural EssexPR Newswire (press release), January 26th
The exhibition will feature specially commissioned taxidermy exhibits and handmade prints and photographs from local East Anglian artists and inspired by the surrounding rural area. An outdoor sculpture trail from local sculptors and land artists will...Read more
Wounderland Is a Creepy Series of Surreal Photos Using TaxidermyBloody Disgusting, January 20th
We are passionate taxidermy collectors. That's why our lonesome characters are, most of the time, accompanied by mounted animals. We reincarnate these dead critters into fairy tale figures by dressing them up like the Victorian taxidermist Walter...Read more
Step inside Nebraskan's taxidermy business to see its global reachOmaha World-Herald, January 15th
Barry Johnson has been a taxidermist for 44 years. He and his wife, Sheila, work together to create lifelike animals and habitats, including three giraffes. Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:49 am | Updated: 1:45 pm, Thu Jan 15, 2015. Step inside ...Read more
Eerie Yet Gorgeous Scenes Make Taxidermy Spring to LifeWired, January 12th
The taxidermy and old-school dioramas of natural history museums often seem stuck in time. A tribe of neanderthals hunts on a plain, forever stalking unseen prey. Alien-looking sea creatures explore the ocean's depths. Wild beasts of every description...Read more
Traveling taxidermy teacher brings knowledge ? and rats ? to St. PetersburgTampabay.com, January 11th
Kwapis travels the world, from Iceland to Toronto, teaching people the outs and ins of taxidermy. She's Internet famous for her patter and artsy, if quirky, displays of the animals afterward: Think bunnies decorated with pink bows or mice lounging in...Read more
Outdoors with Bud Taxidermy tipsKokomo Perspective, January 11th
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Don Swope, owner of Buckhorn Taxidermy near Miami, Ind. Don has been a good friend of mine for a long time. He has been a longtime businessman in the Kokomo area and a certified master taxidermist for ...Read more
Taxidermy as a trend: Making art out of dead animals at Curious Gallery 2015OregonLive.com, January 10th
Their life was gone, but their bodies will live on, carefully dissected, stuffed and preserved by a ragtag group of DIY taxidermists, gathered for a hands-on workshop in Portland on Saturday – part of Curious Gallery, a festival dedicated to museum...Read more