This Is Not Your Great-Grandfather’s Taxidermy

Taxidermy is back. This time, with glitter.

Episode 212 | July 5, 2016

Have you noticed any antlered rabbits mounted on the wall of your local coffee shop? Or maybe some geese with butterfly wings? That’s because taxidermy has made a comeback. Our producer, Mariel Carr, wanted to know why, so she spent a few months exploring the alternative—or rogue—taxidermy scene in Philadelphia. Rogue taxidermy takes an artistic approach to the traditional craft. It combines materials, and even animals, in unconventional ways. And it seems to involve a fair amount of glitter.

Meet Beth Beverly, a young taxidermist; John Whitenight, an eccentric collector of Victorian taxidermy; and the polar bears and gorillas at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Together they explain taxidermy’s long history of combining art and science, and describe the role arsenic played in taxidermy’s rise to prominence in the 19th century.

And check out these animations inspired by the podcast!


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Reporter: Mariel Carr
Producer: Mariel Carr
Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
Animator: Jacob Rivkin
“Boop” and “Climbing the Mountain” courtesy of Podington Bear and the Free Music Archive
Additional music courtesy of the Audio Network