Bringing Life to Natural History

in Modern Nature

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226610894
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226610924 | DOI:
Bringing Life to Natural History

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This chapter describes taxidermy and museum collections in relation to natural history. Philipp Leopold Martin's aim was to raise the profile of practice within natural history and simultaneously to make living nature more accessible. A picture of the political economy of natural history in the German states is presented. A central theme of Martin's Praxis of Natural History was a reformist impulse to reconstruct dead animals in a way that was both “natural” and “lively.” Martin knew of both Herrmann Ploucquet's and Franz Leven's work and may have been inspired by them to pursue his own path to a private museum of animal reconstructions in the mid-1860s. The museums of Martin, Ploucquet, and Leven might be viewed as “public” in the sense of seeking a general audience, but they differed from the museums run by states, cities, and voluntary organizations.

Keywords: taxidermy; museum collections; Philipp Leopold Martin; natural history; political economy; German states; Herrmann Ploucquet; Franz Leven

Chapter.  16866 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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