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Sat, Jun 24


Two 8 Hour Days at the INHA

Proper Cleaning and Handling of Taxidermy Mounts

This two-day conservator-led course presents effective and safe techniques for the handling and cleaning of new and historic taxidermy mounts. Registration closes on May 15, 2023. The course requires 15 students to run. For payment plans, please contact our office.

Proper Cleaning and Handling of Taxidermy Mounts
Proper Cleaning and Handling of Taxidermy Mounts

Time & Location

Jun 24, 2023, 9:00 AM – Jun 25, 2023, 5:00 PM

Two 8 Hour Days at the INHA, 192 Lackawanna Ave Unit 104, Woodland Park, NJ 07424


About the program

Knowledge of the proper techniques and materials for cleaning taxidermy is not as simple as one might think. In fact, many of the popular products on the market can actually harm taxidermy pieces, causing them to lose value, shorten their lifespan, or even become permanently damaged.

Conservators are professionals with rigorous graduate-level education that prepares them to care for the world’s most precious artwork and objects. Known as the “doctors for the art world”, conservators have specific training that examines and understands the science behind caring for collections. Working with them is usually a luxury afforded only by museums, galleries, and high-end collectors.

Now, through INHA’s original programming, we’re offering you the rare opportunity to work side by side with two of the industry’s leading professionals.

Conservators Bethany Palumbo and Fran Ritchie will lead students as they work hands-on through effective and safe techniques for the handling and cleaning of new and historic taxidermy mounts.

Course Overview:

Even the most robust taxidermy mounts are not immune to the effects of time. With proper handling and cleaning techniques that consider the vulnerabilities of age and of different types of taxidermy, collections can survive for hundreds of years. Historic taxidermy requires different approaches to routine maintenance than freshly-prepared mounts. Conservators Bethany Palumbo and Fran Ritchie share their years of experience caring for taxidermy collections and guide students through the cleaning of specimens throughout this intensive two-day in-person course.

Students may bring their own taxidermy mounts to clean, or through INHA’s partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences, work on actual museum specimens from their collection.

Day 1 introduces health and safety concerns, followed by discussion and demonstration of materials and techniques for cleaning. Students try their hand at the procedures on mammals, birds, and other types of mounted animals. Day 2 adds practice for removing more stubborn soiling using wet techniques.

By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to safely and effectively take care of their taxidermy collection using learned skills that will be applicable throughout their career or lifetime as a collector.

No previous experience is necessary to attend this course. Information is aimed at collectors, taxidermists, taxidermy enthusiasts and early career museum professionals who may have limited familiarity with taxidermy collections.

Course Outline:

Day 1:  Health and safety concerns, examination and handling, cleaning materials and techniques

Day 2:  Further cleaning techniques and guided hands-on work. Techniques for removing stubborn soiling using wet techniques.

What INHA Will Provide:

  • · Private studio access with the use of all necessary tools and supplies needed for the class.
  • · Multiple mounts to practice techniques. These mounts are on loan from a local museum, providing students the experience of working on actual specimens.

What Students Must Provide:

  • · Students who wish to bring their own mounts to clean, must be sure the taxidermy is not too large for the workspace - maximum roughly 3x3 feet or 1x1 meter. These must be approved by the instructors at least 1 week prior to the course to allow time for planning.

Payments Plans are available. 

Please contact our office for more information. 

About the Instructors:

Bethany Palumbo ACR is Head of Conservation Unit at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and is specialized in the conservation of Natural History collection types, foremost bone material and taxidermy. Previous to this, she was the Conservator of Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) from 2012-2019. She is accredited by the UK Institute for Conservation and has over a decade of conservation experience in the international museum field. Bethany has a BA (2010) and MA (2013) in conservation studies from the University of Lincoln, UK.

Fran Ritchie is an art conservator who specializes in the care and preservation of natural history collections. She has treated and restored taxidermy in museums across the United States, including the American Museum of Natural History, Zion National Park, Biltmore Estate, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and the Alaska State Museum. A graduate of the art conservation program at Buffalo State College (M.A., C.A.S.), she has also taught graduate students at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and lead workshops at several meetings of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation

Class Policies:

  • Please arrive 15m prior the class commencement. If you are running late, please call us at (973)-890-1516 and let us know.
  • By signing up for our classes, you recognize the risks associated with these classes—working with sharp tools and practicing safe specimen handling.  
  • You agree to follow the instructor’s advice and will not hold the instructor or venue liable for harm.
  • For your safety and to accommodate studio policy, no food is allowed during classes. Drinks in a container with a lid are permitted.
  • There is a break room available equipped with a microwave and coffee machine if you want to bring your own lunch and stay in the studio during lunch time. If you prefer to leave, there are many nearby restaurants and fast-food chains.
  • Due to Covid 19 policies, social distance and the use of masks will be based on community guidelines.
  • You will receive an email with a release form and a waiver. Documents must be signed and returned to INHA prior the class.
  • No refunds unless the instructor reschedules or cancels the class. Please contact us if you cannot attend.

Payments Plans are available. 

Please contact our office for more information. 


  • 8 hours

    Day 1: Health and safety concerns, examination and handling, cleaning materials and techniques

  • 8 hours

    Day 2: Further cleaning techniques and guided hands-on work


  • Course Registration

    Your registration includes a 2 day-course (8 hours per day), a cleaning kit, and multiple mounts to practice techniques.

    +$15.63 service fee
    Sale ended



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