I love Natural History Museums -the image above is from the Smithsonian from a trip last year. Their dioramas bring out clinical details that are missing in zoos. Because of the artifice of stuffing animals and posing them in au naturale, these collections hark back to menageries and freak shows. The animals we choose to display and how they are displayed reflect a lot about ourselves, and I find it no different to walk through a Natural History museum (or the Evolution Museum as Tina Fey’s Palin quipped) than it is to peruse a Damien Hirst exhibit.
Harvard’s collection is a must see, especially if they are exhibiting the glass flowers. New York’s will always hold a place in my heart because it captures that 19th century optimism and obsessive compulsion for collecting (killing) ever rarer and more difficult to obtain specimen. It also does not shy away from displaying people, although they are mannequins and not stuffed (I think).
I would volunteer in a heartbeat (when it comes my time) to be stuffed and displayed in my white oxford button down shirt, khaki’s, and loafers with a plaque Homo sapiens sapiens korean-americanus nerdificissimus maximus et bellygazingus. Put me next to the chimps.