Date of Award

Spring 3-9-2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Allen, Ph. D.

Abstract

“Death and Taxidermy: How the Process of Taxidermy ties in to Modern Society’s Discomfort with Death” examines the relationship between current western discomfort with taxidermy and the strengthening relationship of companion animals with humans. This strengthening of the relationship is facilitating the rising level of grief that comes with losing a pet thus allowing that loss to equate to the loss of a family member. By dispelling the mystery surrounding the process by which a taxidermy specimen is made, where it comes from and why these specimens are vital to educational advancement in the museum, we can discuss why society has decided that these specimens are distasteful in the modern cultural narrative. The philosophical notion of the museum and the practical experience that comes with actually participating in the process of taxidermy have been completely separate until now. This paper seeks to bring these two different views on museums together to spark a new conversation and exchange of ideas.

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