Oh, that raccoon. Always up to no good.
I receive quite a bit of anonymous criticism for using this specimen in the way we do - putting antlers on him, moving him around on a snare drum, using him in a time lapse. Our handling of this particular object tends to make some uncomfortable, which I can understand. After all, it is a museum specimen, and most understand the incalculable value we place on museum artifacts. I mean, it’s in a museum.
I don’t know if these people want me to defend myself, or stop what I’m doing, or just admit that I’m a terrible person and how dare I? The way I see this specimen - this one, specifically - it has no data, no lineage. We don’t know where it came from, or when. It’s not even put together well; his eyes are rocks. Literally, he has rocks in his eyes. Perhaps that adds to his value, perhaps I’m not treating him with the reverence he needs — but we have an entire collection of teaching specimens that can be handled as such, and he belongs to that. How much we value an item is an amount we assign to it. After this series over his value increases from a space-waster living behind a cabinet, to the token raccoon of The Brain Scoop. Worthy of living his days out on display, even.
I see his sacrifice - if that’s what you want to call it - part of our message to raise awareness about natural history museums and zoological collections. Personally, I am way more upset that we have 3,200 flammable specimens stored in an electrical room and no one is sending me inflammatory messages about that, nobody is demanding I move those fish today, or how dare I live with myself knowing they remain in such instability? These are specimens that I know are over 100 years old; we know where and when they came from, and who collected them. We have journals about them, publications citing them. I’m not saying what we do with the raccoon is ‘okay’ because some will always be against us on this, and that’s fine. But the way I see it, if I need to use one ratty raccoon as part of my mission to create a collective invested interest in preserving a greater collection, then I’m going to do it.