Last night a members-reception was held at the museum to mark the opening of the Hahn Hall of Biodiversity, our first new permanent exhibit hall since we opened our current building three years ago. The exhibit is centered around a large collection of excellent taxodermic mounts of African mammals which were donated to VMNH by Dr. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr., President Emeritus of Virginia Tech.
The design an installation of the exhibit to more than a year of work by the VMNH exhibits staff and VMNH Curator of Mammals Dr. Nancy Moncrief. Bovids, especially antelopes, are a prominent part of the exhibit, with 26 species represented:
The exhibit text and structure focuses on morphological diversity within the Bovidae. The specimens were selected and arranged in such a way that we can easily do future enhancements to the exhibit, to allow a more detailed exploration of how phylogenetic relationships are determined, the significance of individual variation, and other evolutionary concepts.
As one final note of significance, this entire exhibit was produced using donated specimens, funds, and materials. I can’t emphasize enough how much museums depend on the generosity of their patrons both to increase the effectiveness of public education and to carry out day-to-day research and collections operations.