The mammals have been prepared in a variety of ways, depending on what they were used for. Many of the mounted specimens were originally displayed in museums or in the home, while the study skins and spirit material were prepared for use by researchers.
There are approximately 140 mammal specimens, some in cases, others un-cased in our collections. Many mammals were collected by the Crowley family, who had close links with the Curtis Museum. The best specimens are those collected and preserved by Edward Hart of Christchurch, Dorset, William Chalkley of Winchester, Peter Spicer of Leamington Spa, and two London based taxidermists - Rowland Ward and John Gould.
Stoat prepared by William Chalkey
There are about 40 mammals that have been prepared as a skin rather than as a mount. One advantage of this is that the specimens take up less space than the more common mounts. Study skins are useful for researchers as the skins hold useful information such as where and when found and measurements such as body length, etc can still be taken.
Another method of storing our mammal specimens is to preserve them in an alcohol. As the entire mammal is preserved rather than just the skin, this method is useful for research purposes. This area of the collections is still being developed and there are about 70 specimens in the Vertebrate Spirit Collection.