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December 1, 2014

The Virginia Museum of Natural History is the new home to 390 spectacular wildlife mounts that VMNH officials will display inside the museum in the coming months. Ranging from bison to wolves to water fowl, the collection recently made its way from Manhattan and Harrisonburg to Martinsville.

Known as The Gregory Speck Collection, the specimens were donated to the museum by New York City socialite, Gregory Speck, who previously kept the collection inside his Upper Manhattan apartment and at his home in Harrisonburg.  Mr. Speck chose to donate the collection to the museum due to the museum’s ability to properly care for, store and display every specimen.  According to an article in the New York Times, the collection could have filled an entire hall at the American Museum of Natural History.  Instead, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is the proud new home of the collection.

“We are thrilled to accept such a wonderful collection of mounts,” said Ryan Barber, deputy director of VMNH.  “The possibilities for each specimen are practically endless and can easily be incorporated into our exhibits, educational programming, and research programs.  This is a huge development for the museum and we are extremely grateful for Mr. Speck’s generosity."

Museum officials already have preliminary plans to display some specimens inside current museum exhibits, and are discussing the possibility of using other specimens as centerpieces for a new exhibit.

“While plans are preliminary, we hope to be able to integrate many of the water fowl specimens inside the 'Wild Watersheds’ exhibit,” said Ryan Barber, deputy director of VMNH.  “Plans for other mounts are being discussed, and could possibly include a new public exhibit inside the museum lobby, where non-paying visitors will have a chance to view them up close and personal.  Many of the specimens may also be used in offsite exhibits throughout the region.”