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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

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Museum of Biodiversity displays new taxidermy acquisition

If you have stopped by the Jordan Hall of Science recently, you may have found it hard not to notice the newest exhibit on display at the Notre Dame Museum of Biodiversity. A taxidermy of an adult giraffe has been placed in the main galleria opposite the museum, and plans are for it to become a permanent addition to that space, as well as others to join soon.

The Masai giraffe was donated to the Museum of Biodiversity by the Greensboro Science Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, who had received the taxidermy animal themselves from a private donor in the early 2000s.

Joanna Larson, the Biodiversity Museum & Herbarium assistant curator, oversaw the transportation of the giraffe, including its packaging in Greensboro and its arrival in South Bend the next day. 

Larson characterized the trip as “quite an adventure,” involving inclement weather, an all-nighter and the acquisition of a vehicle large enough to transport the 15-foot giraffe.

“Due to the winter weather there, here and in between, the move had to be rescheduled several times,” Larson explained. “We had professional movers transport all of the taxidermied items in a 26-foot truck. The weather thankfully cooperated for their drive, but not for my return flight that got canceled.”

The giraffe was wheeled in and erected in Jordan Hall on Jan. 25. Shortly afterward, a sign with a QR code was installed next to the exhibit, prompting students to come up with an official name for the creature. 

“Anyone from the Notre Dame community can submit a name suggestion for the giraffe online through February 23”, said Larson. “After that, everyone will have a chance to vote on the name they think is best. The person who submitted the winning name will win a $75 gift card to Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, a Notre Dame Science prize pack and endless bragging rights. The giraffe’s name will be included on the permanent plaque in Jordan Hall.”

The giraffe is one of twelve taxidermy mammals in the collection at the Museum of Biodiversity. It is currently the only such piece on display in the galleria, partially because its tall stature exceeds the height of the museum’s ceiling. However, Larson highlighted that the exhibit will not be singular for long.

In a recent acquisition from the Greensboro Science Center and the Kaleideum Museum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the museum collected an additional 19 taxidermy mammals and 88 birds.

“The new material includes a tiger, lion, leopards, cheetah, bongo, hyena, wild dog, black bear, mountain goat, dik-dik, nyala and more”, Larson revealed.

The museum plans on creating additional display space in the Jordan galleria in order to house all the new material. Full tours of the current collection, which includes specimens gathered by the university as early as 1844, are viewable during open houses or by appointment.