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…

Surveying Historic Taxidermy Part 2: Fun Finds

At its outset, execution of our inventory and condition survey of taxidermy mounts in storage in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Mammalogy (see previous post) required clarification of what exactly can and cannot be considered “taxidermy.” What exactly is taxidermy? The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words “taxis” meaning arrangement,…

A Horse of a Different Color – researching colorants for recoloring taxidermy

For the 2011-2012 renovation of the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals dioramas, we were limited by the need for high lightfastness (resistance to fading), in situ treatment considerations, health and safety requirements, and reversibility/retreatability, so the project conservators looked to materials already in use in our profession (see previous posts for more details…

Renovation of the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals Part II: Unique Challenges in Restoring Faded Taxidermy

Badly in need of restoration after over 70 years of exposure to high light levels, temperatures, and fluctuations in relative humidity, the iconic habitat dioramas in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals were renovated in 2011-12. Among the most significant problems was fading observed in the taxidermy specimens.   The diorama renovation team…

Introducing the Recoloring Taxidermy Research Project

In 2013, the American Museum of Natural History and Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and the Peabody Museum of Natural History were awarded an Institute for Museum and Library Services‘ (IMLS) National Leadership Grant to fund a three-year project devoted to the development of best practices for recoloring faded mammal taxidermy…