Rickety metal spiral staircases, long halls, unmarked doors: it can all be rather confusing. But the persistent will be rewarded when you locate the heavy doors labeled MUZEUL ZOOLOGIC. They may or may not be open. Try knocking.
There was not a human soul among the thousands of dead animals. Curious Expeditions had the run of the place, free to exclaim and explore, and take pictures at will. Just you and the creatures, frozen in time.
Once inside, this empty, dusty museum appears as if it has been untouched for a half century. The taxidermy displays were amazing. Scruffy, ratty taxidermy fills glass cases, hangs from the ceiling, and peers down from an off-limits second floor. The first room is full of beautiful wood and glass display cases, each one laden with jars holding specimens of fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other species. The display cases are double sided, so that the old specimens can be viewed every from every angle.
In other rooms, large taxidermy tigers, bears, and giraffes stand by the walls, unprotected by display cases.
There were strange pyramids on which birds sat, and trees from which they hung upside down.
There were mice under tiny glass domes, standing on their tails, next to their own skulls. Rodent skulls were mounted, labeled, and arranged in a circle. Their bodies seemed to be merely glued to another board, like a child’s science project.
As you make your way towards the back, an even dustier, lonelier, more neglected part of the museum presented itself. There you come across some real wonders, the kind of thing P.T. Barnum would have loved to own. Barely visible, tucked in a roped-off corner in a cracked glass display case, was a Siamese twin calf, its skeleton displayed next to its taxidermied body.
The museum is really a museum of the museum--an unadorned, dusty, and irresistibly enchanting reminder of what natural history museums used to be.
Resources: curiousexpeditions.org, atlasobscura.com,
"A most fascinating place, that if given the chance, I would visit in a heartbeat!" -Kath