CHICAGO - Cabinet of Curiosities Workshop


CHICAGO - Cabinet of Curiosities Workshop


Start your own natural history collection the DIY way! Sign up for a specimen preservation class with absolutely no experience necessary — learn about entomology (insects), botany, and a little bit of taxidermy by preserving your own specimens. These classes are limited to only six students. Read more below!

The next Cabinet of Curiosities workshops are taking place on these dates. Each date is a separate, all-inclusive class.

  • Sunday, May 12th from 11 am to 1 pm

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What will students learn?

  • Entomology: Learn how to rehydrate and preserve your own moth or butterfly specimen AND a large beetle specimen and take them home with you. Students will receive guidance through the process as well as information on how to procure specimens online and in the wild in the future.

  • Wet specimen embalming: Learn how to carefully embalm, pose, and preserve a jarred bird or mammal specimen. All specimens are legal to possess and were sustainably sourced, meaning their deaths were not detrimental to the environment. Specimens for embalming practice are unsuitable for taxidermy mounting (they may be missing a few toes) but rather than being thrown out out, they will be used for educational purposes.

  • Osteology: Learn how to dissect an owl pellet and identify the types of bones inside. You will receive instructions on how to clean the bones as well as information about other bone-cleaning methods.

About the class:
All specimens are sustainably sourced. Workshops are taught by award-winning licensed taxidermist Mickey Alice Kwapis.

What do students leave with? 
Each student will leave with two finished pinned insects ready for drying, a finished embalmed bird or mammal specimen in a jar, and a jar of small animal bones. Students get to keep all tools and equipment - you will receive a spreading board and insect pins, embalming tools and spare chemicals for future wet specimen projects, and lots of knowledge to go alongside your own finished specimens.

What is the cost?
Tuition is $150, which includes instruction, supplies, and specimens to keep as well as aftercare instructions.

What do I need to bring?
Please prepare for the class by wearing closed-toed shoes and comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. If you have ANY animal allergies please prepare by taking allergy medication, as you may be allergic to your specimen. Short fingernails are recommended. Keep in mind that if you choose to have long nails, it is more likely that you will ruin your specimen(s). Bring a bag or box to carry your supplies and finished specimens home in. Please do not bring food or drink unless it is required for a medical condition, which must be consumed outside of the class area due to safety hazards.

Other information: 
This class will be taking place at my private home in the Logan Square neighborhood Chicago, accessible by the Fullerton bus. Ample street parking is available free of charge. The week prior to the class date, the address and any other pertinent information will be emailed to the address you provide. The class will last two hours.

All ages are welcome to participate in these classes. Students under twelve must be accompanied by a calm adult that can assist where needed. Students with special needs are also welcome. Please let me know beforehand if you are signing a minor up for the class and/or if special accommodations are required, and I will do my best to meet them!

To sign up and reserve your spot, please follow these instructions:

  • Add your desired class to your cart.

  • Fill out the form that pops up. You will need to provide a name, email address, and phone number.

  • Each student needs to have a separate form filled out. If you are giving a ticket to the class as a gift, please provide the student’s information rather that your own.

  • When you are finished adding the desired tickets to your cart, proceed to checkout and pay your fee of $150 per ticket. Your registration is not complete and your spot is not reserved until you have submitted payment.

Terms and conditions:
Tuition is nonrefundable unless the class gets cancelled by the teacher. If you make a payment but find you can no longer attend the class, you may forfeit your payment or transfer it to another person if you desire. Please notify me of any transfers or ask any questions you may have by emailing Late arrivals to class (more than ten minutes) are not permitted.

Discount codes issued to attendees of the Oddities and Curiosities Expo can be applied to your deposit and you will still owe a full $50 cash on the day of your class.