Harriet Hichborn Collection
Gift of the Stockton Springs Historical Society
Taxidermy became popular in the Victorian era when many people brought stuffed animals into their homes for decorations. Old-time residents remembered that the three Hichborn sisters had what they called a museum in their house—a room in which they displayed the many oddities that their father’s sea-going friends brought back with them from around the world. There were “shrunken skulls and exotic sea shells and many others things.” This display of stuffed Maine animals may have been part of the museum collection. A deer head is surrounded by birds and topped with a squirrel. The arrangement is framed by an open doorway and set against the dark interior of the house. The contrast of the interior dark with the exterior light is echoed in the contrast between the lifeless animals and the living cat crouched next to them.