Taxidermy refers to the process of preparing, stuffing, and mounting vertebrate animals or certain parts of such animals.
Classic taxidermy of skins and skeletons play a central role in providing research material for the vertebrate department’s scientific collections, while highly realistic objects are often required for exhibitions. Almost all of the exhibits displayed at the NHM are originals.

The techniques used to create lifelike objects have changed significantly in recent decades. Modern exhibits have little in common with “stuffed animals”. When it comes to recreating the form of the animals, however, the skin is no longer stuffed with straw, peat or moss (hence the term “stuffed animal”) but is instead stretched over a plastic frame which is custom made to exactly the right size. This technique is known as dermoplasty.

Photo: NHM Vienna, Kurt Kracher