You may know the Natural History Museum of Bourges for its collections on exotic and local fauna, its exhibitions such as "Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Nature Photographer" or its bat center. But do you really know what's going on behind the scenes? For you, we pushed a backdoor and found this...

Behind the doors of the museum, we put together a funny puzzle

Let's start from the beginning...! In March 2020, a female Siberian tiger, an endangered species, died at Besançon Zoo. But Saminka's destiny will not end there. His body will be donated to the Natural History Museum in Bourges to be exhibited for educational purposes. This tigress weighing more than 200 kg made the trip to Bourges to be naturalized by a Solognot taxidermist. His skeleton, meanwhile, is being "assembled" to be presented this summer in the next collections alongside wildlife.

A goldsmith's work led by a passionate

The reconstruction of the skeleton is a meticulous job, carried out in-house by the passionate and fascinating Ludovic Besson, head of the museum's collections. This is not his first attempt and has already proven itself on smaller models that are part of the local wildlife: birds, hares and badgers, all on display. With this tigress, the challenge is great! It is not enough to reconstruct the puzzle identically but to assemble all the pieces and create movement to stage the big cat. A goldsmith's work combining several skills: knowledge of feline anatomy as well as osteology techniques, a very old practice that few people know and practice today. Ludovic's work is not limited to animal exhibitions to attract visitors, far from it. Like a scientist, he analyzes living organisms and references each species of local biodiversity (DNA, location, health, type of species, etc.). Essential data that it shares with the National Museum of Natural History in Paris to collect all the reproducible knowledge of the French territory.

This illumination is only a tiny part of the work of the museum. It is certainly a place of exhibition, where you can discover reproductions of animals, but it is above all a place of research, scientific education and archiving of biodiversity. A complete testimony that allows us to understand the evolution of our environment, essential knowledge for future generations.

It is the result of all these people, of all this experience and knowledge which enriches the projects and forms the Natural History Museum of Bourges.

Did you know?
The museum's laboratory has a freezer that stores biodiversity treasures at -40°C awaiting analysis: bird's nests and even... a kangaroo!


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