After Life

Horniman Museum and Gardens

28 September 2013 – 2 March 2014

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Portraits of extinct and endangered animals preserved in museums reveal the stories of our planet's lost and fading species.

Photographer Sean Dooley's fascination with taxidermy began in childhood when he would visit displays to marvel at creatures from foreign lands and forgotten times.

The exhibition features his photographs of preserved creatures from museums and private collections across the UK, including specimens from the Horniman, the Hunterian, Leeds City Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology.

Every portrait captures a species that is losing, or has lost, the fight for survival such as a polar bear, an extinct passenger pigeon and critically endangered ruffed lemur.

Each is important, either as a source of knowledge that can help conserve its species or as a reminder of creatures that no one will ever see again.

Dooley says of the display: 'These objects are sometimes the last remnants of our planet's lost and fading species... Though often beautiful, they're an extremely poor substitute for having these animals live in the wild.

'I visited them to satisfy my own interest, and documented them so that other people could share in their wonder.'

Venue information

Opening times

Museum Daily, 10 – 5.30 Closed 24 – 26 Dec Gardens Daily, Mon – Sat, 7.15 – sunset Sun and Bank Holidays, 8 ​– sunset Closed 25 Dec

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