The Karabots Junior Fellows Journey Through the Academy of Natural Sciences

Timshel Purdum, Assistant VP of Public Experience at the Academy of Natural Sciences, presents a tour of an animal display to the Karabots Junior Fellows

As part of their year-long study of the medical and social construction of the body, the students of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program are preparing to develop their own exhibit. To help them better prepare and to understand how museums use human and animal specimens to teach the public, they recently visited the Academy of Natural Sciences to explore their animal displays. Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia seeks to educate the public in subjects related to natural history. They feature an impressive collection of flora and fauna specimens, including prehistoric skeletons, a live butterfly room, and taxidermy displays of various species that recreate them in their natural habitats (known as “habitat dioramas”). Timshel Purdum, Assistant Vice President for Public Experience, led the Fellows on a tour of the habitat dioramas, explaining the process by which the specimens were acquired, how they were prepared for display, and how the Academy uses them to educate the public. She also presented the students with fascinating inside stories about various dioramas (such as the “Franken-moose,” a moose specimen with the antlers of a different moose attached to them) and images from the site’s copious historical records. Afterwards the explored the museum for themselves.

Photograph of the "Franken-Moose," a moose with another moose's antlers on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences

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