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

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Oslo Natural History

Elise Lund sent me these images from the Natural History Museum in the Botanical garden in Oslo. As Lund explains,

"The dioramas were built after a big renovation of the museum in the 1970's and are still a part of the permanent exhibition at the museum. In the Norwegian hall, where the dioramas are installed, the visitors are presented with the Norwegian fauna as they walk from under the sea to the highest mountain top. The floor is tilting, so you actually have to walk upwards as you see the dioramas. The dioramas are all in different sizes, some very small showing zoological details, and some very large, illustrating wild birdlife in the northern parts of Norway."


Ethiopian natural history museum

Many thanks to Yolanda Weima for the following text and photos from the National Museum in Addis, Ethiopia.  The text is from her blog 

"here are a few photos from the natural history museum in addis. i stumbled upon the museum on my way somewhere else, and not being able to pass a museum without pause, i soon found myself wandering around inside. it's interesting (and not so unusual) when museums themselves become relics of another era. this museum is clearly dated. this style of taxidermy and diorama's seems to have gone out of style in newer museums and exhibits around the world. the taxidermied creatures show their age, as old taxidermied creatures do.

of course, it's not only in africa that one finds museums-as-time-capsules. visiting the royal museum for central africa near brussels in 2005 was a similar experience. not only were their dated dioramas, but in many rooms the information on display seemed stuck in a colonial era, unchanged since most african countries gained independence around 50 years ago."





Frog Museum

The Frog Museum in Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland contains 108 frogs doing the typical nineteenth-century variety of unfroggy things -- at school, at the barber, in the army, or playing cards -- all created by François Perrier in the mid-nineteenth century.

The museum began in the 1850s with the eccentric Napoleonic guard officer began collecting frogs on his walks across the countryside. The officer would take the frogs home, gut them, and fill the sacks of skin with sand, before posing them in his little scenes. Oddly enough, the museum's holdings also include 200 lamps used by the Swiss railways, as well as a collection of Swiss armaments and battle regalia. Do you have better pictures?  Please send them my way!


Bats and Dublin

I've just come across Michael Stamp's beautiful pictures of ancient bats at the Natural History Museum, Dublin.  Check out all his images from the Irish wonder-world at



The Gentle Art of Museum Conservation

Check out the short film shot by Michael Mills that accompanied the Ravishing Beasts exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver in 2010-2011. This silent film documented the conservation work done to get the animals ready for exhibition and was presented next to some of the saddest animals from the collection- see photos below.

The Gentle Art of Museum Conservation from Michael Mills on Vimeo.