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Academy of Taxidermy - Museum of Natural History

Home > Perth > Museums | Animals and Wildlife
by Emma Miall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and jewellery designer loving life in the heart of Inglewood, Perth.
Published May 4th 2012
Wide shot
For all creatures great and stuffed

Walk into a Sydney or Melbourne bar these days, and it's common enough to see a mounted deer head on the wall. Hip bars just can't get enough of all creatures great and stuffed

The Museum of Natural History
You'd never guess the spectacle that lies within
But little did I know Perth has the eastern states all stitched up in the field of taxidermy. That is, until I stumbled through the door of a dilapidated picture house in Guildford and found the Museum of Natural History.

Stuffed dog
Feeling stuffed
When I entered and strolled past the dog curled up by the entrance, a mind-blowing menagerie of mounted animal awaited. From flamingos to giraffes, African lions to gazelles, and camels to hammerheads a safari of stuffed species was staring back. I glanced over and the dog hadn't budged. He was stuffed too.

The Museum of Natural History
Animals have already died of natural causes before they are preserved here
But it wasn't just the animals that dropped my jaw wider than the Great White lunging towards me. The inside of their quirky, cavernous home is also an eye opener. Guildford's old picture theatre is still peppered with relics of its silver screen era including a stage framed by red velvet curtains and a projectionist's box.

In a corner there are lounges where visitors can watch a DVD on taxidermy. But there's nothing like getting it straight from the horse's mouth, so I spoke to Master Taxidermist, Michael Buzza.

Hammerhead shark
Just what you need for your living room
Michael discovered his deft hand whilst growing up on a farm and skinning animals, and ever since, his unique skill has been in hot demand.

People bring their fishing catches in and want them stuffed to brag to their mates about how big it was. Others want to landscape their garden with a Galapagos tortoise or decorate their living room with a pair of moose antlers." Provided the animal died of natural causes, Michael is happy to preserve it.

Tiger
The closest you'll ever want to get
Does taxidermy sound like it's fur you?

You can master the age-old art of taxidermy with a course run by Michael at the Academy of Taxidermy. In one of the courses, you can even mould a life-sized hammerhead shark to take home. Now there's a home furnishing with bite!

And what's available for party animals?
Michael also provides "A Night at the Museum" evenings where he rents the museum out to those who keep nocturnal hours.

Animals
Feathers, fur and fins
What's the lesson learned?

Before going to the Museum of Natural History, the only thing I knew about taxidermy was that when the platypus was first discovered by the English and a pelt was sent to the UK, they accused the taxidermist of sewing a duck's bill onto a beaver-like creature.

I left knowing this: never underestimate the weird and wonderful nooks of Perth.
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Why? Because you'll never see anything like it
When: 10am-late. It's best to call first.
Where: 131 James St, Guildford
Cost: Entry fee approximately: $5
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