When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.
Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.
Later still, Norman Bates shifted the cultural understanding of taxidermy from art to something more macabre after he (spoiler alert) taxidermied his mother in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
Today, animal-loving millennial women are taking taxidermy to new levels of artistry and craftsmanship, from rogue taxidermists who mix and match animal parts to the mallard wing bridal veil of a couture taxidermist.
In the end, isn't taxidermy about immortality and how we choose to remember?
- Kristen Arnett - The author of Mostly Dead Things
- Beth Beverly - A couture taxidermist and the owner of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
- John Whitenight - The author of Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession
Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired December 5, 2019.