SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On Tuesday, the city confirmed detectable levels of arsenic were found in nearly 80% of the taxidermy collection. The mayor said he had no choice but to shut it down. Arsenic is linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses. It’s been detected in taxidermy at other museums, and that’s been the subject of research and discussions since the 1990s.
The collection of Animals has been on display in Sioux Falls since the mid-80s and has gone through some ups and downs over the years. Our cameras were there for it all.
Groundbreaking for the Delbridge Museum was held on May 23, 1983. Carlton Delbridge himself was on hand.
“The commission, the mayor, park board everybody has been back of it one hundred percent, it makes me very happy and my dream is coming true,” said Delbridge.
The 45 acres set aside for the zoo and museum looked a lot different back then. Construction was completed in 1984 and a ribbon-cutting ceremony brought together city leaders at the time.
The empty museum would soon be full of stuffed animals. 175 animal mounts of the Henry Brockhouse collection purchased by Mr. Delbridge became the focal point. Some had high hopes for the Zoo and Museum.
“I think this facility has the possibility to of rivaling Mount Rushmore as it develops and becomes known for what this collection truly represents, Mr. Jonas who is world famous in his taxidermy work says that this collection is unequaled anyplace in the world.”
One by one the animals took their places, including the elephant which arrived in pieces and had to be assembled. In 1985, just a year after construction was complete, there were already plans for upgrades.
Nearly two decades later in 2004, the Delbridge Museum hadn’t changed much and the collection was in need of an upgrade. A task to tour the Delbridge Museum and heard about how hard it can be to preserve the animals without the right kind of heating and cooling.
At the time, the Panda, which had been donated by China, had already been through a slew of repairs.
“The jaw fell off, the teeth fell out that type of thing, but the taxidermist did a good job of putting him back together but that is the type of thing that can happen. Some of these animals won’t last another ten years if they don’t make changes soon.
Most of the animals in the museum were killed or died in the 1940’s through the 1970’s.