Today, October 7, marks the 112 years of the Darwin Museum — the largest natural science Museum in Europe, whose collection includes about 400 thousand copies, brought from all over the world. Even after death the life of many of these animals were full of amazing adventures. On the eve of the feast the keepers of the temple of science are told “MK” about the legends associated with the silent exhibits, the surprises they sometimes presented, and valuable historical finds.
The horns of the king and the crocodile with a secret
“This handsome helped to find a unique document!” — senior scientific employee of the Museum Tatyana Korovkina shows on a stuffed three-metre Nile crocodile. In 2010, he was seized at Sheremetyevo customs from smugglers and transferred to the Darwin Museum.
To this giant for the Museum — a huge success. The skin of reptiles is difficult processing, and transporting stuffed without damage difficult. To accommodate the beginner with comfort, the Museum began to remodel the whole exposition is “Savannah”. And accidentally in one of the stands found the unique article of the founder of the Moscow school of taxidermy Theodore Lorenz on the birds of the Caucasus in the late XIX century!
For us they are extremely interesting, explains his delight Tatyana Korovkina. The founder of the Darwin Museum Alexander Coates was friends with Laurence, studied it and even worked in his taxidermy workshop. Apparently, then the draft scientific articles describing the species of birds of prey and hit the stand. At that time it was ordinary material, used for stuffing.
However, finding something amazing in the bins of the Museum darwinova not the first time.
The staff remembered how I found the trophies of Tsar Nicholas II, who at one time were hidden from Stalin!
In 1953, all the museums were sent out a secret form. The Generalissimo ordered the Directors to get rid of all the “ideologically incorrect exhibits”. Those who had material value, it was proposed to take in gosgranitsa, and others to destroy.
In front of Professor Coates stood a difficult choice. After all, he in 1917 became the owner of a unique collection of horns of deer, bison and ROE deer, obtained of the last Russian Emperor and Grand Dukes in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
— Hunting in the Bialowieza forest came a lot of foreigners. With the king and the princes hunted including Greek Prince — says the store employee of the Darwin Museum Dmitry Miloserdov. — Trophies are usually passed in St.-Petersburg Zoological Museum. Before the First world war values were evacuated and hid in a pavilion in Neskuchny garden.
Katsu became aware of the hiding place, he was able to get the trophies. When I came to a circular from Stalin, he personally, not trusting anyone, smeared whitewash of a crown and the inscription on the horns and part of the hid. All documents about ownership of the trophy to the Royal family destroyed. As for the medals, which took up too much space. So he kept this collection for posterity
— As a collection found in the Museum?
— In 1993, researchers began to move the stuffed tiger, which stood on a high wooden podium. One of the workers leaned on the podium with a hand, the Board failed, and inside was a stash collection of horns.
Beneath the whitewash stood out engraved inscription somewhere you can clearly see the monogram of the Imperial crown. When it became clear that the Royal trophy hunting: bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha, noble deer, European ROE deer, fallow deer, elk — a unique collection of just 129 units. Unfortunately, part of the inscriptions have been lost — they were engraved by a needle, and whitewashing ate authentic ink. But the place, varnished, preserved. Now unique trophies are stored in the osteological collection of the Museum.
Here you see a monogram with a crown and the acronym V. I. V. E. K— “his Imperial Highness the Grand Duke”. The name, which everyone knew, was written, shows Dmitry Miloserdov one of the exhibits. Together with horns were found a small iron figure of a bison. Is a reduced copy of which was given to participants after their first hunt. The original cast — iron bison life-size, stood in the Bialowieza forest. He has old photographs of the Museum. To evacuate but it did not. And he was lost.
There is a Museum unique exhibits are also found employees — the skull of the African antelope, has produced more than a hundred years ago the territory of modern Tanzania. Big skull rare species of antelopes, hartebeests Liechtenstein, middle — reduncy, and the small skull of a Duiker.
Says Dmitry Miloserdov:
Set of three skulls I noticed in 2015 at an antique auction in Munich, where presents associated with the hunting of a rarity. For example, stuffed polar bear, black Panther, narwhal horns, Rhino — they are now banned for extraction, so you can only buy trophies to 70 years. Lain 100 years, they were so dusty that only when they were cleaned and became visible small custom labels. It turned out to be the older exhibits of the Museum of man and nature in the city of Freiburg. To learn the history of the set, we found an article in the local newspaper of the time. It tells about Hans Chudamani that during service in colonial Africa, made a collection of African shields, and other ethnographic objects. Among them were set the skulls of antelopes. After the death of Hans, his wife Constance of the things donated to the Museum, while others were sold by relatives. So Seth and ended up in Russia.
Pet of Anna Akhmatova’s salted in barrels
— I see in the Cabinet is a red Cocker Spaniel? It’s Milka, the last dog of Stalin, says sales. — It was presented to the Generalissimo on the anniversary in 1949, according to one, a Belgian farmer, on the other — the Queen of the Netherlands Wilhelmina.
However, after some time, the Secretary General realized that due to old age and employment may not pay due attention to the puppy, and gave the dog son Vasily avid hunter. He called her Milkey. Vasily Stalin was holding a Spaniel in a military dog kennel “Red star”. From there, after his death in 1960, and the animal came to the Museum, where it was made in effigy.
Near Milkey — watchman state Darwin Museum Eugene. Extremely intelligent, long-haired German shepherd was picked up in 1945 on the streets of Berlin by Soviet soldiers. And pretty quickly found that the dog can search for mines. Eugene helped the Soviet troops to demine in Berlin, and then he brought in “the Red star”. There found that dog though purebred, but older, and gave it to guard the Museum.
Next door with the guard standing Newfoundland with black shiny wool — the hound of the Soviet Ambassador in Estonia Kuzma Nikitin. During the war the owner went to the evacuation, and his dog named Egor before leaving, got lost and ended up on one of the Moscow factories. One day, unwisely attacking the drunk police officer, Egor received five bullets from a revolver! One of them got stuck in my head, but the dog survived. After the war, the handsome Newfoundland began to carry on exhibitions. One of them turned out to Nikitin, learned a pet and took it. In the Museum, he got the same as milk.
But the owners of the African elephant in the Central Museum’s collection was Nicholas II and his son Tsesarevich Alexei. The animal lived in the zoo in Tsarskoye Selo and, according to historians, was a favorite of Anna Akhmatova and her son Lev, who often came to see him.
In the autumn of 1917 the pride of the zoo decided to move from St. Petersburg to Moscow, but on the way the elephant has a cold and died. Alexander Coates spent 10 years gathering information to obtain skins. By the way, she weighed a ton and were salted in barrels. In 1927, Coates finally got the skin together with preserved skull with tusks.
The efforts of the best Taxidermist of the time of Philip Fedulov after 6 months of hard work, a new exhibit for the Museum and the first elephant in the collection was ready. By the way, stiffened the skin has softened in the factory. And then the sketch of the future scarecrows were preparing another co — founder of the Museum and the artist Vasily Vatagin. On the wall he depicted the trumpeting of an elephant in full size. Then he was made a wooden frame and stand. The basis for elephant feet made of iron rod, and its edges of thick wire. Muscles it was decided to make out of straw — it took nothing less than two who.
Use the original skull when creating scarecrows are not supposed to, therefore it was made of wood. And stretched skin while still maintained in the wet state with towels.
The second stuffed elephant, which is in the collection, is four tons Indian elephant gin-Dow (which translated from Sanskrit means “beautiful woman”). Now it adorns the Central hall of the Museum, and in the 1920-1930 years was one of the most popular women in the Moscow zoo. Shortly before 1917, it was donated to the Emir of Bukhara for ceremonies. But the Civil war brought about changes, and after the collapse of the Emirate Jean-Dau serve the city: uprooted in Bukhara trees, ramming roller of the road, was carrying a gun.
In 1924, the elephant was moved to Moscow. A specially prepared stall she were able to read, so went by rail on an open platform. In a way, welcomed the crowds that gathered to see her, took treats.
Arriving in the Russian capital on July 7, 1924, at three o’clock, gene Dow went on foot to Moscow zoo. The conductor was sitting on her neck, and along the whole route, despite the late hour, stood greeting the elephant people…
Jean Dow had happily lived another 12 years, and after her death in 1934 of her skins Taxidermist Philipp Fedulov and the artist Vatagin produced stuffed. And again, they had to overcome difficulties. By the time the wheat began to handle mechanical — under the new process, the straw was razmatyvatel and to create effigies wouldn’t work. It was therefore decided to use wood shavings. Work on the creation of the exhibit lasted six months and ended in 1937.
By the way, the building of the state Darwin Museum Vavilova street elephants in the literal sense of the words came through the walls. In 1994, when the Museum moved from the old building in Malaya Pirogovskaya in new, it turned out that both huge collectible are no doors, no Windows. Door and window openings had to be taken apart in two buildings. And to move the scarecrows around town have developed a special route that does not intersect with the trolleybus routes that the elephants are not hurt low-lying wires. And only in 2017, on the eve of the 110 anniversary of the Museum, the staff found that effigies could be disassembled and then reassembled in a new place. Among 10 000 negatives from the photo archive, which was digitized, there were pictures with the instructions.
Protein in exchange for samovar
Many of the exhibits were donated. For example, Omar, who was presented to Yuri Gagarin during his trip around the world. He gave the Scarecrow his friends, and they subsequently took him to the Museum. This is the present, as the shell of a giant bivalve clams, the staff asked themselves. Among the living bivalve mollusks tridacna is the largest. It folds to reach five feet in length, and weighs several tons. Opening shell, clam pumping thousands of cubic meters of water through the holes in the mantle. Thus the animal gets microscopic algae for food and oxygen for breathing. 80% of your diet (blue green algae) tridacna grows independently within the mantle. It to the Darwin Museum sought out the expedition vessel “Dmitry Mendeleev”. And in 1977, the Museum received the coveted telegram from Oceania: “Caught a shell. The ship was towed by a boat on Board was lifted by a crane”. When shell found, it became clear that on its own is a miracle on dry land not to pull out. I had to go to the leader of the local tribe. With the approval of the natives and the ship’s crew have joined forces.
But many of the exhibits founder Alexander Kots got his own, sparing no effort and money. For example, one day he was walking down the street and randomly in the open window I saw a stuffed white squirrel. The chance to meet the albino in nature — 1 to 10 000. And to see the animal-the albino in the capital are rare. Therefore, Alexander Kots, without hesitation, went into the house, found the apartment with the open window and began to persuade the owner to give him a stuffed squirrel. The woman refused, saying that animal got it from a deceased husband. Then the Museum Director asked if there was anything in the world-the hostess would be willing to exchange so dear to her thing. After a long sigh she finally admitted that, perhaps, would have given white squirrel for the pot. Alexander Fedorovich quickly returned home and immediately went to the kitchen. The samovar in this time boil. Remove the tube and pour away the water was a matter of one minute. Hot from a samovar in the hands of Coates ran back, fearing the idea that the owner changes her mind. A few steps down — and that’s before the astonished woman is samovar, still storing heat. Protein also migrated to the happy Museum Director.
On the same floor are the hybrid animals. Ligers and tigons, hybrids of fur, pheasant, wood grouse and black grouse. The hybrids are genetic disorders, so they often die at an early age. But to grow an animal to adulthood is extremely difficult.
— This is known Tigrai Apollo — says Keeper of the Darwin Museum, senior researcher Igor Fadeev. — This beast is larger than the lion and very valuable historical artifact. Apollo was born in a German zoo, were brought to Moscow and became very popular. Once he got out of the cage, which forgot to close, and went to walk around the site, on the road, even got into a fight with a leopard. Fortunately, visitors to the zoo were not hurt. He died in the 40 th year of volvulus.
— And who is your most dangerous animal?
— Of course, mol. The main enemy of the skin. Protect them as coats and boots. Used used arsenic, synthetic pyrethroids now that people are not harmful. Preventive treatment twice a year and freezing during the day. It is a science. For hundreds of years to keep the stuffed animal means a lot of work and know what to do. The Museum’s 400 exhibits. Most of them are stuffed. So imagine the amount of work.