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The Living Art of Dead Things: Introduction to Taxidermy With Allis Markham

October 10, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - October 24, 2020 @ 4:30 pm

In this three-part lecture series, join taxidermist Allis Markham for a deep dive into the history, process, and techniques of the practice.


Step inside the studio of Allis Markham, an award-winning taxidermist and educator, to learn the art, science, and ethics of preserving animal corpses. We’ll begin by tracing the history of taxidermy before digging into legalities and modern applications of the practice. After covering the basics, we’ll walk through the process of preparing specimens and learn techniques of tanning leather, sculpting forms, and mounting and finishing work—with Allis mounting a duckling from start to finish, demonstrating techniques you can use at home. We’ll hear from museum and taxidermy professionals from around the world who specialize in different aspects of the craft, from reptiles to habitat to extinct species. By the end of this course, you’ll not only have a deeper understanding of taxidermy, but you’ll also be equipped with the tools, techniques, and observational skills to begin your own project at home. At the very least, you’ll leave this course with a new appreciation for the anatomy of the creatures you encounter in your neighborhood or backyard.


There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three consecutive Saturdays beginning October 10. This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch at their leisure. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. All enrolled students will receive recordings of each session shortly after class ends and will be able to access them for up to six weeks using a temporary password.

Session 1 (Saturday, 10/10, 3–4:30PM ET): Look alive! History + process of the practice

Session 2 (Saturday, 10/17, 3–4:30PM ET): From frozen to finished, duckling demo day

Session 3 (Saturday, 10/24, 3–4:30PM ET): Around the world in taxidermy + global expert panel


While this course is open to students of all ages, please be advised that your instructor will be handling biological specimens on-camera.

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account.


Allis Markham is an award-winning taxidermist/nassologist based in Los Angeles, California. She was named Third in the World at the 2017 World Taxidermy Championships and was the 2018 California Champion, receiving Judges’ Choice Best of Show, People’s Choice, and the Artisan Award from the United Taxidermist Association.

More recently, Allis has focused on museum work and public education, and taught the only taxidermy course in the country in recent years at Occidental College. She’s worked with institutions such as the Natural History Museum of Santa Barbara, Moore Lab of Zoology, The Huntington Library, The Frost Museum of Science, Colorado State University, and The Getty. Additionally, she’s created commissions for Gucci, The Nomad Hotel, EB Florals, and television shows such as Bates Motel. Allis has also been featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, the cover of LA Weekly, and more. You can also watch the critically acclaimed documentary STUFFED, which followed her for several years, or listen to her episode of Ologies.


This online course is offered by Atlas Obscura. Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive, community-driven guide to the most incredible places on the planet and is now an award-winning travel company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 20 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed a time that works for you for up to six weeks after they’ve aired.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses.