Collection Corner: Museum to host taxidermy workshops in February

February 2, 2018

Taxidermist Jenn Hall working on Carter County Museum’s famous two-headed calf.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the enthusiastic feedback the museum has received after posting February taxidermy workshops. Since I moved to Ekalaka last March, many of you have come to me with questions about preserving your own specimens. While I’m always happy to meet with you for one-on-one help, we decided that it would be fun for the museum to host some workshops in which we can socialize, share knowledge and ideas, and just have a generally good time working on the beautiful things that occupy our freezers. On that note, for those of you who are a little hesitant, I thought a little more information might be useful.

As I mentioned, it seems that more than a few of you have specimens that are awaiting preservation. But if your taxidermy freezer is currently empty, fear not: I have plenty of specimens that I need help with for our in-progress taxidermy hall renovations. Recent repeat visitors to the museum might notice a few animals in the hall that have recently gotten makeovers for those renovations. Lee Castleberry’s mule deer fawn was looking a little washed out but is now sporting a new spotted coat (thanks in no small part to the Hair Affair’s Jess Meyer whose advice and high-quality dye was put to good use)! Our trumpeter swan is looking equally spiffy after an intense cleaning. Our full-grown mule deer is also exhibiting some new-found confidence after a recent facial; he’s like a whole new deer! If you end up working on specimens for the exhibit, I will be sure to include your name on the new labels the hall will be getting this spring.

These workshops are going to be less lecture and more conversation. I’ll be using your questions and my personal specimens to demo for the group techniques on skinning, fleshing, tanning, bone cleaning, restoration, and anything else you guys might want assistance on. After demos, I’ll be available to advise as you work on your own projects. One Wednesday might be sufficient for someone skinning something like a squirrel, but perhaps you’ll want to come back with something bigger the next week- it’s up to you!  And you don’t have to bring something fresh; if you have an old mount that you’d like some repair advice on, definitely bring that. 

I’ll provide many of the tools and materials we’ll need, although you’re more than welcome to bring your own if you have them. Your $35 fee will go directly to taxidermy hall renovation funds to purchase essentials like forms, chemicals, glass eyes, and habitat materials. So, whether you’re BYO or you want to borrow one of mine for practice, I hope you’ll stop by between 5:30 and 8:30 on Wednesdays in February!

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