Resources from the Puget Sound Museum

Teaching stick bird - A .pdf of teaching stick bird preparation
Bird dissection - by Dr. Dennis Paulson, Director Emeritus

Bird Preparation - Spotted Towhee (videos on Google Drive)

(change settings to HD or 1020, default appears to be 720)

Mammal Preparation - Douglas' Squirrel (videos on Google Drive)

Mammal Preparation - stick mammal for teaching (PowerPoint)

Specimen Repair (basic instructions & tips)

Other Resources

Chapin 1929 Bird Preparation - This PDF is one of the first comprehensive instruction sets from 1929 and most preparation techniques employ some or all this this methodology. 

University of Alaska Fairbanks - Kevin Winker performs preparation of a northern saw-whet owl.  This video offers two different camera angles and is narrated by the University of Alaska Museum of the North Ornithology curator, Kevin Winker.  Useful tips for pre-skinning measurements and the special attention necessary for keeping owl feathers clean during prep.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia:

  • Working With Birds - Beaty Museum's in depth guide to bird preparation.  There are multiple sections to this page, and would be best for those interested in the fine details of specimen prep.  A beginner may find the amount of information on this site overwhelming, but it is very useful in detailing all aspects of bird preparation from start to finish.
  • Avian Collections Workshop - Beaty Museum's YouTube channel featuring 11 different videos of specimen prep and specimen prep workshops.  Includes how-to videos for study skins, spread wings and skeletons, decoy wire mounts, and washing/drying skins.

Burke Museum, University of Washington:

  • Testing, testing, 1-2-3 -  overview of Burke Museum's new specimen prep observation area Testing, testing, 1-2-3 exhibit, includes first hand accounts of staff experiences
  • Western Tanager Preparation - video- Burke Museum's time lapse video of western tanager preparation

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Bird Division - video series:

  • Part 1 - Demonstration of skin and skeleton prep of a roadrunner.  A brief overview of information and materials gathered before starting the specimen preparation, beginning of skinning demonstration, and a bit of quick information on the process of using dermestid beetle colonies for skeleton specimens.
  • Part 2 - Continuation of skinning from part 1 with nice explanation of wing molt.  The skull of this specimen was removed from the bill to be treated with the skeleton.  Because the skull was removed, this video does not give a demonstration of the skull cleaning technique required to keep the skull inside the specimen.
  • Part 3 - Stripping of wings, stuffing, sewing and pinning specimen.

Natural History Museum of Utah - Narrated video of mammal skin and skeleton preparation, includes procedure for tissue sampling

California Academy of Sciences - time lapse video of skull preparation using dermestid beetle colony

University of Kansas Museum of Natural History - Excerpt from a 1962 publication detailing specimen labeling and mammal preparation

Museum of Zoology - University of Michigan's how-to guide for collection and preservation techniques for reptile and amphibian specimens

Entomology Research Museum - Insect preparation.  Extremely detailed guide to collecting, euthanizing, relaxing, pinning, and labeling insects

National Museum of Natural History - More insects.  A guide to collecting, euthanizing, relaxing, and pinning insects.  Includes detailed lists of supplies for each step of collection/preservation.

(originally compiled by Angela Caldwell, March 2020, last update 25 May 2022, GWS)