Mickey Alice Kwapis

taxidermy & craft

Photo by Lenny Gilmore for RedEye

Photo by Lenny Gilmore for RedEye

Mickey Alice Kwapis is a Midwestern taxidermist and craftsperson. Born and raised in Michigan, she took an interest in nature and biology from an early age. An obsession with animals coupled with a desire to hold onto tangible memories led to an unexpected intersection, discovered one night with a dead squirrel, a bottle of wine, and an old biology textbook. Mickey has been working in the taxidermy industry since March of 2012 and is recognized internationally for her pop-up taxidermy workshops for beginners.

Mickey practices sustainable taxidermy methods and has worked, volunteered, and taught at museums and universities all over the world. She has also served as a consultant to novelist Lauren Beukes for the award-winning book Broken Monsters. Mickey's lectures are primarily targeted towards those with an interest in biology, science, and natural history and focus on the role taxidermy plays in understanding the past, present, and future of our ecosystem. Mickey resides in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. Aside from taxidermy, she enjoys caring for living animals, metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication, experimenting with baking, and is constantly on a search for the best gin cocktails the city has to offer. So far the Corpse Reviver II at the California Clipper takes the cake.

Want to know more? Read Mickey's FAQ. Interested in seeing photos of the taxidermy process? Follow along on Instagram.

Notable affiliations, past and present:

  • Action Potential Lab - Toronto, Ontario (guest educator)
  • American Natural Resources - Griffith, Indiana (guest taxidermist)
  • Audubon Zoo - New Orleans, Louisiana (guest educator)
  • Field Museum - Chicago, Illinois (volunteer)
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - Seattle, Washington (guest educator)
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History - Cambridge, Massachusetts (guest educator)
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science - Houston, Texas (guest educator)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art - Cleveland, Ohio (guest educator)
  • Ojai Valley Taxidermy - Ojai, California (guest taxidermist and sometimes-social-media-lady)
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum - Chicago, Illinois (volunteer)
  • Portland State University - Portland, Oregon (guest educator)
  • University of Washington - Seattle, Washington (guest educator)