'Shock waves' sent through world of museums by Sioux Falls decision to dump Delbridge collection
Arsenic use common in museums but city standing firm on disposing exhibits
A decision by the Great Plains Zoo to shut down the Delbridge Museum of Natural History has reverberated across the world of natural history museums in this country and beyond.
“It’s basically sent shock waves through the museum community,” said George A. Dante, the president and founder of The Institute for Natural History Arts and an expert in taxidermy.
The Great Plains Zoo this month abruptly shut down the museum after arsenic was detected in a 170-specimen exhibit of exotic animals taken in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. And though the arsenic levels are low and commonly found in taxidermy from that era, city and zoo officials say disposing of the collection is their only viable option.
But that plan is ruffling feathers. And not just here in Sioux Falls where many of the specimens have been on display since being shot by Henry Brockhouse, a notable Sioux Falls businessman who spent decades hunting big game animals before his death in 1978.