Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dead Animal Day

This saturday, May the 25th, the Natural history Museum in Rotterdam was dedicated to "de dag van het dode dier". The day of the dead animal.

I knew that stuff was bad for you
The McFlurry hedgehog
This wasn't a particularly sinister event, rather more a celebration of animals that have found a second life in the museum. The ´animals with a story´ took center stage, but there was also attention for the regular collection. The museum is after all full of dead animals.

Visitors could bring in their own dead animals, with the possibility that it could become a museum piece  Prof. Kees Moeliker (of dead duck fame) was in attendance to judge whether these were suitable for the museum's growing collection of animals with a story.

A `jaarvogel` brought home as a memento from service in the colonies
Like Antiques Roadshow, for dead animals

There was also throughout the day a live preparation of a stork that had had an unfortunate run-in with a train. This drew a constant, and surprisingly varied, crowd of onlookers. 
The preparator patiently answered the seemingly endless barrage of questions, it was like attending The Brain Scoop in person.

The empty bird has a stick added for convenient handling
The stork being ¨prepped for the ´skins´ collection

Dead animal day was also the first time I got to see the newly expanded and improved collection of animals with a story that was opened at the first of the month. Previously it was a small glass and wood cabinet on the first floor, tucked away near the entrance to one of the main exhibits.
But now it has been given pride of place in the entrance hall and features such storied specimens as the dominomus, the necroduck, the breakfast batthe headless canary and the McFlurry hedghehog.

The mouse was anonymously delivered to the museum
The `Chambermouse` from the Chambers of Parliament
Don't leave the bag open... Investigation has shown the mouse ended up in the bag after production.
The pretzel-mouse, found in a bowl of crisps

Being a natural history museum there is also a large collection of taxidermied animals in more traditional displays, the large mammals are the main eyecatchers but the really interesting stuff is behind glass.

What are they looking at?