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Shelburne Museum, Vermont

Thanks to Joanne Daoust for sending me the following images and history of Shelburne Museum in Vermont. 

The Shelburne Museum was founded by Electra Havemeyer Webb in 1947 in part to exhibit her expanding collections.  The Museum is not really a museum in the common sense of the word.  Webb's collection passions focussed on folk art, early American history, and - rather amazingly - entire buildings.  In total, the Shelburne Museum consists of 44 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the Museum grounds.  Webb was also an avid hunter.  "I am afraid I'm a killer," she once said.  "l like hunting...I like big game trips and I like sports of all kinds."

In part to showcase some of Webb's own trophies, in 1960 the Shelburne Museum built Beach Lodge, named for William and Marie Beach who were friends and hunting companions of Electra Havemeyer Webb. Using timber forested at the Webb family’s home, Beach Lodge was designed to resemble an Adirondack hunting lodge - the classic American backdrop for taxidermy.





From a reader ... 

Watch this short video by Alex Sherman of Foster's Bighorn restaurant in Rio Vista, California.    

Established in 1931, Foster's Bighorn was designed to be a trophy haven where the public could view the many animals of the world caught by bootlegger Bill Foster. Making many visits between 1928 and 1952 to Africa, India, Greenland, Alaska, Mexico, and around the United States, Foster caught record size game including a 13 foot elephant head considered to be the world's largest trophy animal ever caught. Other rare specimens include the mounted head of a giraffe, a moose that Foster claimed was the largest in the world with an antler spread of 76 inches, and an extremely elusive Himalayan snow leopard. Rumor has it that he met Ernest Hemingway on his first trip to Nairobi. Many of the animals were stuffed by taxidermist John Jonas. Foster passed away in 1963 and the restaurant is now owned by a resident of Rio Vista who maintains Foster's collection as a monument to the man's lifelong interest in wild game.



Tigers at the Maharaja Palace

These photos, sent to me by Johanne Daoust, were taken in Bikaner in Rajasthan, India at the Maharaja Palace which is now, in part, a hotel and restaurant.

Along the hallway to the ballroom ...

 As Daoust writes:

Our waiter lead us through the Palace and to show us this room. It was a slow day at the Hotel Laxmi Niwas' restaurant  where we were having lunch and he wanted to make a few extra bucks. This hall and state ballroom is off limits to the general public. It is only used for state visitors. Needless to say the Maharaja and his European/English guests were good shots. But I really don't think any of those tigers had a chance given the way they were flushed out by hundreds of men on foot and on elephants. The ballroom was quite the sight....a very large room with us standing in the middle rather astounded!




Curious Expeditions at the Hunting Hall


The curiousity-seekers at Curious Expeditions travelled to Budapest's Hall of Hunting in the Agricultural Museum in Vajadhunyad Castle:

"Hundreds of antlers, horns, hooves, and fur. Stuffed birds and mounted bears. Cutlery with horn handles carved into foxes. Antler broaches, antler chandeliers, and antler chairs. It is known as “The Hall of Hunting.” With beautiful vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, along with the fact that the Agricultaral Museum is often empty, this top floor feels like the church of a long lost deer deity. Echoed footsteps and hushed whispers lend a quiet respect to these relics of the hunt ...

The quiet hall of animals is a unique opportunity to see this strange and sad phenomenon preserved in taxidermy. Beyond that when one find oneself alone among beasts, the church-like quality of this fake castle gives way to a sacred air and the place truly becomes a cathedral of antlers."

Read all at


The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum

Image of inside the saloon from Buckhorn's website
Deep in the heart of San Antonio, Texas you'll find the Buckhorn Hall of Horns (and fins and feathers and monstrous births and wax figures of American history).  Albert Friedrich opened the saloon in 1881 and it has been in continuous operation since.  In the early days, the collection of horns grew mightily with Friedrich's unusual offer: "Bring in your deer antlers and you can trade them for a shot of whiskey or a beer."  

When prohibition muzzled the saloon in 1920, Friedrich switched official titles: now he welcomed patrons to the Buckhorn Curio Museum.  wink wink.  And when Friedrich's competitor, Billy Keilman, closes shop a few years later, Friedrich acquires Keilman's Horn Palace. Could this be the world's largest collection of horns and antlers.

crazy-horns.jpgThe other museum galleries slowly were added - the Hall of Fins in 1964, the Hall of Feathers in 1973, a collection of rarites included several two-headed creatures and siamese births sometime after that - and pushed the annual number of visitors to a spectacular 400,000.   After being held by several brewing companies since the 1950s, Mary Friedrich Rogers - Albert Friedrich's granddaughter - and her husband, Wallace Rogers, bought back the collection, and on December 22, 1998, the new Buckhorn Saloon & Museum opened on Houston Street - a few blocks from the original 1881 location. 

As advertised on their website, the Buckhorn museum "don't like the idea that museums have to be stuffy, quiet places. How are you going to get excited about that! Get yourself a drink at our over 120 year-old bar and come on in! Ooh and ahh at the sites, get close to our world record holding trophy mounts, see our collection of oddities!"

read all more the museum and its history: