Today we received a wonderful treat in the North American Mammal Hall. While heading an effort to make the dioramas more environmentally friendly through better lighting, Beth and her team of taxidermists, conservators and other experts have also been giving the dioramas and their inhabitants some much needed touch ups. Beth filled us in on many of the issues they confronted like the fading of fur, dust, bubbling paint on the back wall of the displays, and the unpleasant yellowing of some of the snow scenes. Steve Quinn, one of the restoration artists, talked to us about the steps it takes to preserve the landscapes as well as the story each scene depicts. Many details such as body size/structure, diet, hunting style, types of fur, and season all must factored in when staging and repairing the depictions. We were proud to hear that information from the Mammalogy archive proved helpful for retracing the steps of the Hall’s original designers.

After that thrilling experience we ventured up to the sixth floor of Mammalogy to inventory the map and gazeteer collection. Many of the maps were used on expeditions throughout the world and were well organized. Number codes were assigned and a finding aid was available to explain the system of classification. The gazeteers, or geographical directories, collected the information about where specimens were collected. Included were latitude, longitude, altitude and other helpful information that allows the current staff to find places that might not appear on ordinary maps. We leave you with some map-related photo to help you find your way home.

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