William T. Hornaday: Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting
Here’s another spoiler for our 1st floor exhibit case: Dave brought this beautiful book from his home to go in our display among our information about William T. Hornaday. This book, Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting, was published in 1891 during his term as Chief Taxidermist for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
From an artistic, historical, and biological standpoint, this book is absolutely fascinating to look through! In so many aspects was Hornaday ahead of his time in regards towards animal preparation and taxidermy, and this book discusses some techniques which we still employ in our museum today. In many aspects of his personal life, however, Hornaday was a controversial and stubborn figure, but nevertheless passionate about wildlife and working ultimately towards its conservation. Someday I’ll tell you all about the time he put a pygmy person from the Congo named Ota Benga on display in the National Zoo in the primates exhibit as a way to illustrate convergent evolution, but that is totally another story.