Take the Feather Conservation Survey!

Please consider participating in a conservation community survey on methods and materials used to preserve and care for feathers: Take the Survey! This community survey will guide our research plan. If you are a conservator or preservation professional who works (or has worked) with feather materials, please consider being a contributor. Some important points: The…

Continuing Conservation Research Challenges: Impacts of Cleaning, Pesticides, and Restoration of Color in Feathers

In September of 2018, The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in partnership with the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) and UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials (UCLA/Getty), received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund conservation research over a…

Return of the Dead: Taxidermy in Contemporary Culture

The American Museum of Natural History is famous for its dioramas that include expert examples of taxidermy. But taxidermy is encountered in other types of museums and facets of contemporary life, especially since it has been gaining popularity in art and elsewhere. This post explores (and celebrates) the expected and unexpected spaces where taxidermy is…

What’s the Word? A Glossary of Taxidermy Terms

In previous blog posts we described our condition and inventory survey of mammalian taxidermy. In completing that survey, we created this working glossary of terms to ensure that each conservator who participated in the survey shared a common understanding of terminology for taxidermy materials and techniques. We share the glossary below for others who may…

Case Study: Flying Squirrel Treatment

Another of the specimens treated as part of our preparation for our Care of Historic Mammalian Taxidermy workshop at the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) 2017 annual meeting was a taxidermy giant red flying squirrel. Project Intern Logan Kursh executed the treatment. There was little data available about the date or…

Case Study: Lemur Mount Treatment Part 2: Treatment

In addition to thorough condition examination and photographic documentation, conservation treatment decisions should begin with a clear proposal to be approved by Collections Managers, Curators, or other stakeholders prior to beginning hands-on work. Caitlin submitted the following treatment proposal to the Mammalogy Department for the treatment of the lemur mount.  Treatment Proposal Use a HEPA-filtered variable-suction…

Case Study: Lemur Mount Treatment Part 1: Condition Examination

In addition to testing the stability of metal-complex dyes, we have been studying condition issues facing historic taxidermy collections (see our previous posts on the Mammalogy condition survey) and performing conservation treatments on selected specimens. These treatments stabilized important mounts and served as case studies for a workshop on the Care of Historic Mammalian Taxidermy…