Want a selfie with a polar bear? KU has your ticket

photo by: Laura Mohr, KU NHM

Taxidermist Errol Hooper repairs a polar bear specimen for KU's Natural History Museum.

As part of International Museum Selfie Day, KU’s Natural History Museum will have its big polar bear back on display Wednesday — and you can take your picture with it.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum will have its taxidermied bear available to the public. The polar bear traditionally stands just outside the panorama case inside the museum on Jayhawk Boulevard, but it has been missing recently as it has undergone repairs by former museum staff member and taxidermist Errol Hooper. The repairs were necessary after the bear endured decades of being touched by so many museumgoers.

“It’s had a hard life with some damage,” said Eleanor Gardner, the museum’s outreach and engagement coordinator.

Though the polar bear will be on display for International Museum Selfie Day, it will be back in the shop the next day for more repairs.

“It is time-consuming work. I would expect the repairs to be complete by the start of summer,” Gardner said.

People are welcome to gently touch the polar bear while it’s on display for International Museum Selfie Day, and they can even act as though they are putting an arm around its neck, Gardner said.

Visitors can also take a selfie with a cutout of Lewis Lindsay Dyche, the explorer, lecturer, taxidermist and namesake of Dyche Hall, where the museum is housed.

This is the second year that the museum has participated in International Museum Selfie Day.

“This year, we will have selfie stations around the museum and are encouraging our staff and students to take selfies with the research collections they are working with in order to help serve science communication efforts,” Gardner said. “We’ve asked that folks post their selfies with the hashtag #MuseumSelfieDay.”


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