My book The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing!

Click image to purchase or read more about the book here 


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Beastly Love

What is beastly love, you ask?
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Do you like this?

Do you like this website?  Perhaps you'd like to donate a few pennies to help keep it going.  But no pressure.

UBC's rich biological collections are housed in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, a new public museum dedicated to enhancing the public's understanding and appreciation of biodiversity, and making the research conducted by the scientists of UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre more accessible to the public. The Museum and the Research Centre are housed side-by-side in the new Beaty Biodiversity Centre building.  Find out more about the museum here +


Come here me talk at the Beaty! 

I will be giving two talks at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum on the UBC campus this weekend.  Talks are at 2:30 on both Saturday and Sunday, and the talks are on the subject of ... well, what else but taxidermy.  If you haven't already been to the Beaty, this weekend is a great opportunity.  The cafe will be open, various children's programs will be underway, and you get a little dip into the strange world of taxidermy.  Find out more on the Beaty's website here

Here are a few visual tantalisers that may be included:


Montechristo Magazine and the Beaty Museum

Check out the article on the Beaty Museum in the latest Montechristo Magazine.  The article discusses the birth of the museum and its current stylistics. The lovely people at Montechristo created these exquiste animal groupings with genuine period props including a first edition (I think) of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Read a pdf of the article here + or find it in your favourite magazine store.


More pictures from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Some more pictures from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum +  

Picture by Jeff Werner.  See more Beaty pictures on flicker here +



Beaty Biodiversity Museum Opens 

Over the last six month, I've been working at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, a museum which is best known for its massive hanging blue whale skeleton.

Getting the museum ready for opening has been a massive undertaking.  Not only have all two million specimens (from fossil to beetles, from seaweeds to fungus to wombats and salmon) moved from their various ancestral homes scattered around UBC campus into the new cabinets, but over 600 displays have been developed, written, designed, and fabricated -- and all in only 6 months.  I've been in charge of the vertebrate displays, including the birds, beasts, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Here's me cleaning some bones.

All the displays are not all completely finished, but the place is really starting to look like a museum!  Here are a few quick look at the few of my larger displays - most of the displays have a smaller, jewel box feel.  But you'll have to visit the museum to check them all out!  As I say, the museum is open while we continue to work. Check out visitor hours, directions, etc. here +

Images above and below are taken from Global News' wesbite.  Read the article about the October 16th opening day here +  



Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Over the last six weeks or so, I've been working at the soon-to-be-fully-open Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.  The museum is unusual in that it both houses the research collections of UBC's various biological faculties while also opening those same collections up to the public.  Visitors have the opportunity to look into the actual storage units and meander through the maze of cabinets housing 500,000 specimens of plants, algae, fungi and the like, 600,000 specimens of bugs, beatles, and butterflies, more shells that you could count, 40,000 specimens of land vertebrates, 800,000 fish specimens, and over 20,000 fossils from around the world. 

The highlight of the collections until the museum opens (and probably afterwards too) is a beautifully articulated skeleton of an enormous - and I mean ENORMOUS - blue whale that hangs in the atrium of the museum's entrance.          

So what have I been doing?  Something far less impressive than that whale.  You see those little windows down below?  Well, I've been making sure that what's inside is worth the look.  Those windows are scattered through out the museum (which extends in rows and rows and rows of cabinets behind) are little windows into the beauties, oddities, rhythms, and ruptures that make up the diversity and balance of the natural world around us.  Unfortunately the window reflection makes picture-taking difficult.  Mine didn't turn out nearly as nice as these photographs by Dean Chura and posted on flickr here:


The museum will be hosting a series of free previews with talks and tours throughout the summer, so if you are in Vancouver, be sure to check it out.  The entire museum will be open in the fall.  Find out all the details of preview events here +