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Wednesday, May 31 • 4:30pm - 4:55pm
(Treatment: Don't Go it Alone) Re-exhibiting Akeley Mounts at the Field Museum, Chicago

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The Field Museum of Natural History recently opened a new diorama featuring four mammal specimens that had been previously exhibited in an oddly placed case situated among the reptile displays. After much consideration and visitor surveys, the Museum moved forward to create its first new habitat diorama in over 60 years, reinstalling an existing 1921 grouping of Striped Hyenas created by Carl Akeley into an original empty diorama cell. The project was funded by a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised funds from across the globe. Creating this new diorama involved the full scope of the museum's exhibition process as discussions and planning proceeded to design the habitat, add new specimens and create a space that would ensure their preservation. The Striped Hyenas are significant in terms of the history of taxidermy. They were collected, prepared and arranged for display by Carl Akeley, one of the most renowned American taxidermists. The decision to create the new habitat diorama allowed access to the hyenas for careful consideration of Akeley's (often secret) methods, materials and techniques for mounting and display of specimens. A small team of conservators and scientists collaborated to ensure that the hyenas were carefully treated and studied prior to installation. The treatment included many thoughtful choices. Primary were those related to the visual integrity of the specimens that resulted in the inpainting only the sides of the mounts seen by visitors. Further, the overall color balance for lighting the diorama was chosen to reduce the appearance of fading. Analysis, examination, cleaning and stabilization of the specimens revealed details about Akeley's methods that were previously unknown and presented new information about his taxidermy techniques. Visually disfiguring overpaint and damage previously attributed to pest activity was reconsidered in light of research revealing that deterioration during field preparation of freshly harvested mammalian skins can lead to hair slippage and overpainting during the mounting process. In spite of the tight time schedule for treatment and display construction, the group was able collect information about Carl Akeley's techniques that helped guide treatment choices and inform display conditions.

Speaker(s)
avatar for Lisa Goldberg

Lisa Goldberg

Conservator, Goldberg Preservation Services, LLC
Project leader for STASH, AIC News Editor and conservator in private practice. Lisa Goldberg is a private conservator with a focus on preventive care as well as health and safety issues. She is a member of SPNHC and AAM, and is a Professional Associate of AIC. As long time editor... Read More →

Co-Author(s)
avatar for Thomas Gnoske

Thomas Gnoske

Chief Preparator and Assistant Collections Manager, Field Museum
Thomas Gnoske is Chief Preparator and Assistant Collection Manager in the Collections Center at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. His work on taxidermy over the years has inspired his interest in understanding and reconstructing historic methods and materials in taxidermy... Read More →
avatar for Ronald Harvey

Ronald Harvey

Principal/Conservator, Tuckerbrook Conservation LLC
Ron Harvey began his private practice in 1990. He is involved in a wide range of conservation consultation with museums including storage, environment, lighting and treatment of objects both nationally and internationally. Prior to private practice he completed an MFA in sculpture... Read More →
avatar for Shelley Reisman Paine

Shelley Reisman Paine

Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, SPC LLC
Shelley Reisman Paine, M.S., University of Delaware and Fellow of AIC, has 40 years experience as both a museum and private conservator. Her work has been centered around advocating best practices for collections. Shelley has worked with new and renovated facilities, planned strategies... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 4:30pm - 4:55pm
Regency C-D Ballroom Level, West Tower

Attendees (69)