Museum Frankfurt

Zoological Taxidermy Lab

Zoologische Präparationswerkstatt
A view into the Zoological Taxidermy workshop

The responsibilities of the Zoological Taxidermy Department at the Senckenberg Museum cover a broad area of subjects.

Among its main functions is the preservation and lifelike preparation of currently living animal species. In certain cases the reconstruction of the corresponding natural habitat in form of dioramas could be added. The production of assembled skeletons and the preparation of invertebrate animals, applying the most appropriate method in each case, also comprises the duties of the Zoological Taxidermy. With all these tasks the methods are enhanced and improved continuously, for instance relating to new materials (e.g. plastics) and chemicals.

Another important field is also the maintenance and reparation of older and valuable exhibits and their protection by suitable measures against detrimental effects. Eventually, the Zoological Taxidermy contributes also to temporary exhibitions.

For the Senckenberg Research Institute the Taxidermy Department takes on the conditioning of exceeding preparations and very large animals (e.g. production of skeletons and furs for the academic collection).

Impressions of the practical work

 Hildegard Enting beim Modellieren einer Rafflesia-Blüte    Präparation von Skeletten
 Hildegard Enting while modelling a Rafflesia-blossom    Udo Becker while working on mammal skulls
Einrichtung einer Vitrine  

Kolorierung eines Köhlers

Colourizing an exhibit made of plastic

Installation work at the exhibition  


Dermoplastic Make-up of a Young Giraffe

At the end of 2010 the Zoological Taxidermy Lab was busy with the preparation of a young giraffe.

The preparation was crafted with the dermoplastic method.  With this method an artificial body with all anatomical details, which resembles the living muscular body of the animal, is being modelled.  Then the tanned skin  is placed, adjusted, and glued on the plastic. Lastly, the cuts necessary for skinning are being sewed up.

Since March 2011 the finished exhibit can be viewed in the Museum’s „Säugetier-Saal“.

Giraffe1    Giraffe2
Insight into a few studies, models and casts which were necessary for the craftig of the dimensionally accurat plastic.   Installation of the artificial body plastic of the giraffe. (1)  
 Giraffe3    Giraffe4
Installation of the artificial body plastic of the giraffe. (2)   The finished body plastic. The head was separately moulded and attached.
Giraffe5    Giraffe7
„Covering“ und adjusting of the damp skin.   The sewing up of the skin cuts takes up quite some time.
Giraffe7    Babygiraffe Dermoplastik fertig
The dermoplastic prior to bandaging and drying.   The finished dermoplastic.

Example of a preparation method: form- and plastic techniques

 Fertige zweiteilige Form und Original    

Unlike to the preparation of mammals and birds, in which the preserved original skin is used, there are plastic casts with fish, reptiles and amphibians. Later they are colourized lifelike.

 Entformung des Originals    Entformung des Kunststoffduplikates


Projekt "SAFARI"

Up until the opening of the temporary exhibition „Safari zum Urmenschen“ (A Safari to the Prehistoric Man) on October 8 2009, all work at the Zoological Taxidermy Lab was directed towards this project.

View behind the curtain of the fabrication of the exhibits:


Präparatorin beim Modellieren    Rekonstruierter Schädel
 Modelling in accordance with measured data   Reconstructed skull  
 Mitarbeiterinnen beim Aufbringen einer Silikonschicht    Schädel unter der ersten Silikonschicht
Application of silicone coating    The skull with the first coating of silicone. 
Präparatorin beim Entformen des Duplikats    
Removal of the duplicate