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MLA Full: "Project Hyena Diorama: Indiegogo Campaign!" YouTube, uploaded by thebrainscoop, 6 April 2015,
MLA Inline: (thebrainscoop, 2015)
APA Full: thebrainscoop. (2015, April 6). Project Hyena Diorama: Indiegogo Campaign! [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (thebrainscoop, 2015)
Chicago Full: thebrainscoop, "Project Hyena Diorama: Indiegogo Campaign!", April 6, 2015, YouTube, 09:46,
YOU can be a part of The Field Museum's History -- Donate to the #ProjectHyenaDiorama and help the hyenas !!

Come hang out in our Subreddit:
Twitters: @ehmee
Producer, Writer, Creator, Host:
Emily Graslie

Producer, Editor, Camera:
Tom McNamara

Theme music:
Michael Aranda

Created By:
Hank Green

Production Assistant:
Katie Kirby

Special Help From:
Karen Bean, Greg Mercer

Hyena Project Managers:
Rachel Dunbar, Susan Neill

Exhibits team:
Michael Paha, Sarah Crawford, Shelley Paine, Susan Phillips, Aaron Delehanty

Bill Stanley, Lawrence Heaney

Jason Gagovski

Filmed on Location and Supported by:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL

English captioning provided by Martina S.! :D Such thanks! wow!

(00:00) (Intro)

(00:05) Emily: Somewhere deep in the halls of the Field Museum in Chicago, there's a diorama that's missing. 

Legend has it that it's been hidden behind a wall in the Asian Hall of Mammals for the last eighty-seven years. But where?

(00:23) Gaurs. Orangs? Diorama-sized green wall... Wait, diorama-sized green wall. (Emily knocks on the wall) It's hollow. LET'S GUT IT!

(00:40) (Various tool noises / music)

Behold! It's the missing diorama space! But there's something not quite right here. Where's the painted mural? Where's the meticulously created and scientifically accurate habitat? Where are all the taxidermied animals!? (No, not you, Soon Raccoon. Wait how'd you get in here?)

Could it have been stolen by treasure hunters or lost at the bottom of Lake Michigan in a pirate shipwreck? Maybe there was a diorama-sized rip in the spacetime continuum.

(01:18) It's the 1920s. Construction starts on the dioramas in the Asian Hall of Mammals: tapirs, sloth bears, leopards, gibbons. In total, twenty are planned. Then: The Great Depression. Money runs out, people move on. Nineteen of the twenty dioramas are finished; the last one is boarded up and left untouched for eighty-seven years.

(01:44) So the way I see it, we've got an empty diorama for the taking. Let's fill it with something!

But... what? (Emily begins walking through the museum, from diorama to diorama) American alligator... weird giant tadpole models... climbing lizards... striped hyenas... Striped hyenas?! What're they doing here in the Reptile Hall? Guys? (The hyenas remain silent)

(02:15) Not just any striped hyenas, Carl Akeley's striped hyenas! Gadzooks!

The year is 1896, and the Field Museum's chief taxidermist, Carl Akeley-- pioneer of modern taxidermy, inventor of a motion picture camera, cool friends with President Teddy Roosevelt-- accompanies a team to Africa on the world's first American-led museum expedition to Somaliland. In pursuit of animals wild and weird, they specifically search for the endangered African Wild Ass. These animals were at risk for extinction from a virus that had already wiped out many species of buffaloes, antelope, deer and giraffes.

In order to ensure future generations might study and know these species the expedition brings back a range of specimens to the United States, including four striped hyenas.

Also on this expedition: Akeley famously encounters a leopard, is attacked and nearly eaten by the mighty beast, and ultimately the two battle to the death. Akeley is forced to strangle the leopard with his bare hands, shoving one arm down its throat while the other holds on for dear life. ... his life I mean. The leopard dies, obviously.

After five months in the field, Akeley returns to Chicago, where he spends the next nine years making taxidermy mounts for these animals for display in Field Museum dioramas. Akeley's goal: to bring the public face-to-face with African wildlife for the first time ever.

(03:35) The Field Museum soon moves to its new location here on Lake Michigan. The striped hyenas, some of the finest in the world, are put into overflow storage and end up in our Hall of Reptiles.

So we've got an empty diorama space and some orphaned hyenas. Seems to me like we've got a project!

In an unprecedented move, The Field Museum wants you to be a part of our history in a very real way: to help us restore this diorama and give the Akeley hyenas a home. So we've formed a crack team of scientists, conservators, builders, artists and exhibitors to--

(04:09) (Dramatic transition Music)

Michael: Aaand action! (Man snaps two boards together in a movie fashion) That's a wrap!

I'm Michael Paha. I'm working on the hyena project to, ah, move the cases, open up the glass, you know get in where people need to get in, get things for them a bit, building support for landform, and um... move the case wherever it needs to go. Yeah. 'Cause I'm Mike the Mover! (laughs)

(04:31) Sarah: I'm Sarah Crawford and I'm an exhibit developer, and my job is essentially to talk to, ah, curators, and get their stories about the hyenas.

'Why do I like dioramas'? Uh... because I remember being a little kid, it felt like when you stood in front of them that you were traveling the world, you know. And I remember coming to- actually to the Field Museum when I was younger, looking at the dioramas in this hall and feeling that way, you know, like I could just step right into them.

(05:02) Bill: The hall that this is going to be installed in has several, uh, specimens that were collected by Kermit and Theodore Jr. Roosevelt. And, one of my favorite dioramas is at the beginning of the hall with the sheep coming down across an alpine slope. And I can actually feel the winds, the chilly winds blowing off the slopes as I'm watching these sheep run down this mountainside.

I'm Bill Stanley, I'm the director of the Gans Family Collection Center and also the collection manager for the collection of mammals, and I'll be advising on the natural history habitat distribution of striped hyenas for this diorama.

(05:36) Shelley: My name is Shelly Paine and I am the exhibitions conservator, and it's my job to examine the hyenas, to see if they need any repair prior to exhibition, and to help the team determine the best way to preserve the hyenas while they're in the diorama.

(05:55) Susan: I'm Susan Phillips, I'll be the production manager for the hyena diorama project, and I will work with the whole team to schedule, budget, plan the work. And I'll also be working in the shop making, um, landforms and plants for the diorama.

(06:13) Aaron: I'm gonna paint the mural! Um, I'm gonna... (breaks out laughing) I'm going to rock out the mural, man. (laughs again). I'm Aaron Delahanty and I'm gonna paint the mural.

(Delightful song plays to old-fashioned 'The End' movie slide.

(06:33) Emily: In total we're looking at a cost of $170,000, and here's where you come in. Natural history museums across the world are struggling with how we reach audiences that aren't only in our backyard. We want to make valuable connections with people from all over the world, to prove that our museum is your museum and to allow you to help conserve history with us. So if you can't make it to Chicago next month, or next year, or in the next twenty years, you could come visit decades from now, and along with millions of other visitors, enjoy the collective efforts born from fans of The Brain Scoop all over the world.

(07:05) So it's already been eighty-seven years, why do this now? We've got television, the internet, zoos, touchscreens, and interactive exhibits. Why put the energy behind recreating a century-old art form that is walled off from the world?

Number one: since Akeley endeavored on that initial expedition more than a century ago, the geographic ranges of the majority of those species --including the striped hyena-- have become increasingly limited. Once abundant across Northern Africa and into Central Asia, it's now estimated that the striped hyena's population is around 10,000 adults and decreasing annually. If their population disappears, the Field and museums like ours will be the only places anybody will be able to study these creatures. But it won't be possible until we begin conserving these one hundred year old specimens, today.

(07:48) Number two! Dioramas are historically relevant. They're time capsules for a region over time, in ways ranging from the specimens themselves to the geography of the landscape, the types of plants represented in the habitat and the interactions of different species within the group. Because of our Hall of Mammals we're allowed a unique insight into the habitats of south east Asia at the end of the nineteenth century, which is something that can't be replicated in public spaces anywhere else.

(08:13) Number three: dioramas create valuable connections between humans and nature. As our cities and building projects expand it is more important than ever to remember that we are not encroaching on nature, we are a part of nature. Nature, wildlife, and natural environments do not exist separately. Life exists everywhere, and dioramas put us face to face with nature in a way that gets lost behind screens in the digital sphere.

(08:36) Number four: Carl Akeley was a key player in revolutionizing a marriage between art and science, and contributed to how the public sees and interacts with our natural world. He was like the Beethoven of taxidermy. He's like the Michelangelo of dead animals! One of the greatest honors a taxidermist can receive today is the Carl Akeley Award for Most Artistic Entry at the World Taxidermy Championship. His legacy is far-reaching and his life's work deserves preservation.

(09:02) Number five: museums are places of permanency. While the world around us might not look anything like it did ten or twenty or two million years ago, museums help us preserve views into the past. And this is only going to become more important to remember as we lose natural habitats at an unprecedented rate.

We've got an obligation to care for our collections, but we can't do it without your help. Check out our Indiegogo campaign, you can donate by clicking (here) or checking the link in the video description. Please?

(09:32) (Outro)

(... it still has brains on it.)