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Taxidermist of Museum für Naturkunde Berlin help colleagues of the Brazilian National Museum

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Workshop_Rio_@_Felipe Cohen
Press release,

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is committed to the reconstruction of the Brazilian National Museum, which was destroyed in 2018: in September, a four-week tandem workshop with taxidermists from both museums will take place in Rio de Janeiro. Building on the National Museum's extensive expertise in taxidermy for research collections, the Berlin colleagues will teach the basics of exhibition taxidermy. Materials and methods will be adapted in a professional exchange, and the first bird taxidermy specimens will be made for the new installation at the National Museum. The reconstruction of the Brazilian National Museum is supported by the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and a network of German museums.

On 2 September 2018, a major fire destroyed the Brazilian National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Triggered by a short circuit, the largest natural history museum in Latin America also fell victim to a fire. Since this catastrophe, the Museu Nacional da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) has been working on its reconstruction, supported by the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and a network of German museums.

Since the National Museum has to set up all the exhibitions anew, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is making its special expertise in exhibition preparation available for this purpose. A team from the museum was sent to conduct a workshop on exhibition taxidermy with the taxidermists from the Brazilian National Museum. Until now, the National Museum's taxidermy team has worked exclusively for the research collections. Exhibition taxidermy, i.e. the construction of lifelike animal preparations for display purposes, requires additional skills. The aim of the workshop is not only to teach the basics, but also to have a lasting exchange of experiences in order to research materials on site and develop suitable techniques.

"We are delighted that the Brazilian National Museum has approached us to support the reconstruction of the natural history exhibitions. Our museum has a tradition of almost 100 years and internationally renowned expertise in zoological exhibition preparation. We are happy to share our knowledge in order to rebuild this area there together with our colleagues at the Museu Nacional - as a prelude to a longer-term cooperation between the two museums," says Johannes Vogel, Director General of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Alexander Kellner, Director of the Museu Nacional/UFRJ, also welcomes the start of a more intensive exchange between the two museums:

"The team of experts at the Museum für Naturkunde has impressive technical skills in exhibition preparation. Therefore, we are very grateful to the museum, the Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut for the support and training of our technicians. The partnership between our two museums is still in its initial phase, but will continue in the coming years. The results of this cooperation are of utmost importance for the new exhibitions of the National Museum."

The taxidermy workshop will take place from 5 to 30 September at the Museu Nacional/UFRJ taxidermy laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. The team of the Museum of Natural History consists of exhibition taxidermists who have won awards at international taxidermy championships: Robert Stein (World Champion 2008, 2012), Jan Panniger (World Champion 2012, European Champion 2014, 2018) and Christin Scheinpflug (Vice European Champion 2018). From the National Museum, the collection preparators Ana Galvão, Carlos Augusto Caetano, Tomás Capdevile, Alexia Granado, Carlos Rodrigues and Luiz Caetano will take part.

The tandem workshop is a cooperation project of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Museu Nacional/UFRJ. It is supported by the Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Foreign Office.

It is part of a workshop series supported by the Goethe-Institut and the German Foreign Office, which was developed in cooperation with museums to enable exchange between experts and multipliers in the museum sector, to promote the institutional development of museums and to intensify cooperation between museums through joint projects in South America and Europe.

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