As I retrace Andrew Downs’ professional development opportunities in Europe at the peak of his career, I am recalling the wildlife specimens he procured for institutions abroad. Halifax’s local papers and articles speak of Downs’ prolific distribution of Nova Scotian specimens, yet there is no mention of where. The naturalist, editor, and friend of Andrew Downs, Charles Hallock, wrote about Downs’ life’s work explaining that:
“There is hardly a museum in either hemisphere that does not contain specimens obtained from him. He has sent upward of 100 moose heads and scores of entire specimens across the Atlantic.”
-Charles Hallock, “Andrew Downs F.R.S Zoologist”, Forest and Stream V53 no:10, (New York , NY: 1899).
Do these lost animals continue to inhabit collections abroad? Are they tucked in between layers of acid free tissue? Do they now live among rows of metal shelving, or behind UV protected glass? I’ll be visiting major institutions in the countries that Downs toured, in hopes of finding the animals that passed through his hands before their passage overseas.