The Mammal Division of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, will improve storage facilities for its collections of large skeletons and tanned hides. With approximately 140,000 specimens and 130 primary types, the mammal collection is the third largest university collection in North America and the sixth largest in the country. Its special areas of strength include the fluid and skeleton collections, and collections from the Great Lakes Region, the southwestern U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, the Middle East, and the Philippines.<br/><br/>The primary specific needs addressed this by project are to (1) replace cabinets in which the skulls of large mammals, plus the postcranial skeletons of all mammals except rodents, are housed; and (2) move the collection of tanned skins from an old system of hangers into modern cases. The majority of cases currently in use are essentially open to the air due to the separation of their backs and sides. None can be sealed effectively for fumigation, and most have populations of insect pests that can no longer be controlled. This project will replace these cases with modern units. The collection of tanned hides, which numbers 1176 specimens, is isolated in a separate room or "fur vault." Hides are hung from a scaffolding by ropes through their eyes or other holes. This manner of hanging results in stretching, and eventually, tearing. It is now not unusual for skins to pull free from their hangers and be discovered lying on the floor of the room. Further, fumigation of this collection is nearly impossible due to the size of the room and the fact that the skins are hung in the open. This project will remove the scaffolding and place large cases in this room. Skins will be folded or rolled and stored in cases in which they can be fumigated.
Support for the Collections of the Mammal Division