Friday, September 28, 2012

Sprucing up the specimens

The American Museum of Natural History embarked nearly a year ago on the restoration and conservation of the dioramas in their highly-regarded Hall of North American Mammals (image above, slideshow here). The $2.5 million project will culminate on October 27th to coincide with the reopening of the AMNH's Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and the president and naturalist's 154th birthday. Improvements to the exhibits by artists, taxidermists, conservators, and designers include the following:
  • Restoring faded color by airbrushing colorfast dyes on their fur
  • Dusting and cleaning artificial leaves, grasses, and rocks
  • Installing energy-efficient and less-damaging lighting
  • Updating display text with the latest scientific information about each species
The AMHM originally opened in 1942 and the diuoramas remain classics. Says taxidermist George Dante, who is on the team, “These are among the most solid pieces of taxidermy anywhere. You’re looking at the best of the best. Even in the small specimens like the jackrabbit there is extreme attention to detail. The musculature is just fantastic. Every little bit is in there.”

Visit vicariously via the Cabinet:

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