Natural History

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On monday, I attended a tour through the depots of Salzburg’s Natural History Museum, the ‘Haus der Natur’. Even though I’ve visited it what seems to be a hundred times – in primary school, in high school, with family, with friends…, I’ve never had a look behind the scenes. Well, two days ago, I had the opportunity to do just that. The director of the museum, Norbert Winding, guided us and we visited the herbarium, the place were they are keeping the insects and the depots with the taxidermy animals – those were certainly the most interesting ones! Actually, it was a bit creepy, all those shelfs stuffed with animals, some of them looked as if they were going to jump right at you! The birds (and the seperate pelt collection) were mainly natives and also used for scientific research and not just for exhibitions. The butterflies are not displayed at all (well, some are) because they lose their colour immediately – after 2-3 months under the museum’s light, they look extremely faded. Most of the mammals come from various zoos – especially all the big cats, which are mostly for exhibitions… They were beautiful, but it was also painful and sad to see them like that.. But, on the other hand, what would have happend with their carcasses otherwise?

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