University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

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Local artist uses bird specimens

Valerie Mann

In the Summer of 2013, I started visiting the Natural History Museum, U of M's campus, to draw and paint from the vast collection of birds in the museum's holdings.  I learned from the collection manager, Janet Hinshaw, that the Museum of Zoology has 2/3 of the world's species of birds in its collection.  Of course, the birds are dead, but they're still beautiful.  Some of them have ankle tags that date as far back as the 1800s!  The handwriting is beautiful, the letterpress tags are gorgeous.  I feel a connection to the folks who 'gathered' the specimens and to their love of birds when I handle them.  I feel privileged, above all.

To read more about my experiences and see some photos of the specimens and drawings, visit my website and click on my blog:



Valerie Mann web page


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