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Int'l Museum Day: Elderly Gentleman Transforms Home into Specimen Museum丨Faces of Chongqing

By YAN DENG|May 16,2024

Chongqing - In celebration of International Museum Day, we turn our gaze to a humble abode in the bustling city of Chongqing, where dedication, passion, and love for nature. Here resides Tang Anke, fondly known as "Specimen Grandpa," who has transformed his home into a captivating museum adorned with over 6,000 crafted plant and animal specimens.

"I've been working on specimen making for several decades," Tang shares, his eyes gleaming with pride. "I probably started collecting and making specimens around 1979." With a humble beginning in botany experimentation, Tang's journey into the intricate art of crafting plant specimens soon expanded to include animals. "Initially, it was plant specimens," he recalls, "but then in the 1990s, I started working with animal specimens."

As visitors step into Tang's residence, they are greeted by a sight to behold. "It's hard to believe that in a room of less than 100 square meters, it's home to more than 6,000 specimens," Tang said.

His innovative approach to preservation sets Tang's specimens apart. "this kind of dried specimen is not commonly seen," he explains, pointing to one of his creations. "With my special drying method, I maintain its original growth shape, which looks more realistic."

For Tang, his home is not just a museum but a laboratory of wonder, where the balcony serves as his workspace, and the room is filled with equipment and potions for specimen preparation. His creations serve as the cornerstone of biological research and a source of joy and fascination for visitors, especially schoolchildren. "I often exhibit them in elementary and middle schools," he shares. "Children like to take photos with them, and it brings me joy to see their curiosity."

Despite the accolades and admiration his work receives, Tang remains grounded, finding fulfillment in the simple act of sharing his passion. "Some like it, some don't," he shrugs. "But as long as there are interested eyes to behold my creations, I will continue making them."

(Li Tao and Han Xi, as interns, also contributed to the report)


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