Uncle Sam's Wizard

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  • Newspaper article describing the work of individuals employed behind-the-scenes at the National Museum who toil in their work areas to make exhibits for display. The author seems enthralled with workshop activities, which are never seen by the public, and calls the area "the most interesting part of the National Museum." The article begins with a description of the work of an individual called "The Wizard of the National Museum," later identified as J.W. Hindley, who makes life-like imitations of almost anything, running the full range from humans to everything flora or fauna, vegetable or mineral, using his own secret compositions to create life-like human flesh and other object coverings used in exhibits at the National Museum.
  • Next door to the Wizard's laboratory is museum taxidermist's William Palmer's work area, where all the animals for the museum are stuffed and mounted. Some of the work of A. Zeno Schindler, artist of the Smithsonian, who was involved in making paper mache casts of fish and other creatures, is also described. The author also writes of efforts made by Smithsonian agents in the field to secure animal specimens and describes the processes necessary to preserve and ship the specimens back to the Smithsonian for display in an exhibit.


  • Schindler, A. Zeno
  • Palmer, William
  • Hindley, J. W
  • United States National Museum


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article is datelined "Washington, D.C., July 3 [1890]."

Contained within

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat (Newspaper)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


July 6, 1890


  • Taxidermy
  • Preservation of materials
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • Museum techniques
  • Museum exhibits
  • Museums--Collection management

Physical description

p. 26, Columns 1 & 2

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