The Specimens

Articulating Afrikaner Identity

Daniel Naudé: Dirk next to an Afrikaner Bull Skeleton. Onderstepoort, Pretoria, 27 October 2010

This specimen – the articulated skeleton of an Afrikander Bull – was constructed many decades ago as a teaching model for the students of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria, South Africa. The original bull was donated by a local farmer. Unlike the majority of the anatomical collection, the specimen does not display a developmental [...]

Submitted by: Amy Halliday | Leave a comment

The Raft

Mark Fairnington: The Raft, oil on canvas, 2006

The scene is the Natural History Museum’s outstorage depot located in a secret location in South London, where they house all the taxidermy specimens that are not on show in the public galleries. From the outside the building looks like a non-descript 1960s council office. You go through a reception area, down a set of stairs and along corridors to arrive at [...]

Submitted by: Mark Fairnington | Leave a comment

Happy Jerry


I first came across Jerry’s story when researching primates in nineteenth-century newspapers and popular manuals of natural history. Jerry was a much-loved mandrill resident at Edward Cross’s Exeter Change and the Surrey Zoological Gardens. According to The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction (1832), he was discovered in 1815 aboard a slave vessel captured off [...]

Submitted by: Sophie Everest | Leave a comment

Siberian Tiger and Sika Deer, Milan

Siberian Tiger and Sika Deer, Museo di Storia Naturale Milan

As a child living in Milan, in the 1980s one of the greyest cities in Europe, a visit to the natural history museum meant a lot more than education or simple entertainment. To me there was nothing like a Saturday morning at the museum with my dad. The displays magically compensated the absence of nature [...]

Submitted by: Giovanni Aloi | Leave a comment

Fluxmouse No. 1, 1973

George Maciunas: Fluxmouse No. 1, 1973

In early 1973, George Maciunas was consumed by a mouse problem. It was not the first time. For most of the sixties, the Lithuanian-American founder of the international art collective Fluxus lived in a series of grimy, low-rent apartments in New York with his mother, and they often had mice. Maciunas once caught a whole [...]

Submitted by: Natilee Harren | Leave a comment