All that is left of this now are the old bank vaults which are the stores and taxidermy section for the museum. Lukas took us down to meet the staff down there and given the local history of the space it all felt very...atmospheric:
The taxidermists are an amazing powerhouse down underneath the museum proper. They are incredibly skilled at what they do; they can work for years on some of the bigger pieces, reconstructing the muscle and sinews on a skeleton in clay and then making a cast of this and re-stretching the skin over the top. These are skills passed down from master to apprentice - a macabre apostolic succession.
What struck me was the physical lack of 'animal' after the process was finished. You can just see one of the castings, the head of an antelope, to the left of the sprinbok on the wall (no corrections please). It really is just the skin, artfully pulled over the fibre glass. From this strange, translucent core, the ghost of the original animal, long since dead, you can create something that looks so lifelike in its glass cases. In most instances looking so real that you can feel a decided sadness to see them in the main halls of the museum, and yet the life is long gone from them.