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Smithsonian Institution


The National Museum of Natural History's Mammal Hall was renovated in 2003. I had the honor of working on a number of the taxidermy pieces for this hall.

The pictures below show the process for sculpting a taxidermy mannequin for an okapi ( http://www.ultimateungulate.com/okapi.html ). This specimen died of natural causes in a California Zoo.



The actual skeleton of the okapi was set up to use as an armature. The head was sculpted earlier, cast in foam and attached to the skeleton.

Once the skeleton was dry, the bones were wrapped with foil to keep the bones from getting damaged.

After the sculpture is molded the model will be torn apart and the bones cleaned for the museum's osteology collection.

The skeleton was coated with urethane foam and carved to shape.

The tanned skin of the okapi was tested on the carved foam model to check the fit.

Modeling clay was applied over the foam to finish filling out the anatomy of the animal and refining the details.

This final shot shows the finished clay sculpture ready for molding.

With me are Paul Rhymer and John Matthews of the Smithsonian Staff.



Roger Martin
Post Office Box 755
Albemarle, North Carolina  28001


Copyright 2003-2018 Roger A. Martin