Mansfield Memorial Museum Display Has the Right Stuff-ing

A bizarre collection of stuffed ducks, mice, frogs and their other furry counterparts have become a surprising highlight of the offbeat collection housed at the Mansfield Memorial Museum.

A bizarre collection of stuffed ducks, mice, frogs and their other furry counterparts have become a surprising highlight of the offbeat collection housed at the Mansfield Memorial Museum. These Victorian-era taxidermy displays, which continue to intrigue visitors more than 100 years after they were crafted, prove that taxidermy is an art worth dying for. Information on this and other Mansfield attractions is available at (800) 642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com.

Mansfield Memorial Museum visitors chuckle over the macabre exhibits, which feature a variety of small birds, mammals and amphibians posed in bizarre vignettes with tiny props. They're dressed in costumes and portrayed in human-likeness, offering a truly one-of-a-kind museum experience. Visitor favorites include a bullfrog conductor directing a band of rats; three ducks and a rooster enjoying afternoon tea; and a duck wedding complete with a robed minister.

The collection was started by the museum's original creator, Edward Wilkinson, between 1871 and 1876. "It's been on display since the museum opened 125 years ago," said current Museum Director Scott Schaut. "It's one of the oldest such collections in any museum." The art form that got its start from hunters wishing to display their prizes and scientists looking to study animal forms became very vogue in the Victorian era. During that time, British families displayed pieces in their home as a show of wealth. Taxidermists began experimenting with different techniques to demonstrate their skill. The artists' creativity heightened the popularity of these fairy-tale, taxidermy-based dioramas.

Founded in 1889, Mansfield Memorial Museum is the oldest museum in Richland County. Taxidermy is just a part of its broad and unusual collection. Other displays include the world's first robots and artifacts spanning from Ancient Rome to modern times, including collections of early Native American, African, Asian, military and natural history items. The museum is located at 34 Park Ave. West, Mansfield, Oh, 419-525-2491, www.themansfieldmuseum.com.

A destination unlike any other, Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio's wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, from visiting the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married, to overnight ghost hunts in a haunted former state prison and touring sites where "The Shawshank Redemption" and other Hollywood blockbuster movies have been filmed. Breathtaking scenery, rural and hometown experiences, as well as hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and loads of other outdoor adventures attract families and visitors of all ages. For information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can call (800) 642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com.

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