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Nature's MirrorHow Taxidermists Shaped America's Natural History Museums and Saved Endangered Species$
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Mary Anne Andrei

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226730318

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226730455.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022



(p.1) Introduction
Nature's Mirror

Mary Anne Andrei

University of Chicago Press

The taxidermists who trained at Ward’s Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, in the 1870s and 1880s, formed a uniquely important cohort of “museum men” and early conservationists. William Hornaday, Carl Akeley, along with their lesser known colleagues Frederic Lucas, Charles Townsend, and Frederic Webster revolutionized the world of museum display and permanently reshaped the public’s understanding of the natural world. Their work led to the creation of America’s major zoos and laid the foundations of the modern wildlife conservation movement. The new taxidermy of the nineteenth century owed a debt to the taxidermists and preservationists who came before them. It wasn’t until the 1800s that methods had progressed enough to set a lasting standard for the preservation of natural history collections. It was on this foundation that taxidermists of Ward’s were able to innovate methods of public display that emphasized accurate anatomy and aesthetic design that portrayed life and action. Their wildlife exhibits were meant to capture the interest and attention of the public to educate them about species and their habitats, and in many instances raise awareness of the devastating effects of careless human interaction with the natural world.

Keywords:   Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, William T. Hornaday, Carl Akeley, Frederic Lucas, Charles Townsend, Frederic Webster, taxidermy, wildlife preservation, wildlife conservation, exhibits

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