Thursday, January 11, 2018
Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, OK
What? A privately-owned industry which culls the skin, muscle, tendons, and brains from bones of the tiniest to the largest of animals and then re-assembles the skeletons. All skeletons are legally acquired.
Who? Jay Villenmarette started the evolution of Skulls Inc when at the age of 7 in 1972 he found a dog skull. Fascinated by it, he was encouraged by his father to collect skulls. Today, he and his family of six along with a handful of knowledgable employees clean and re-string bones into skeletons (about 20,000/yr) for museums, schools, and private collectors who want them as trophies. A myriad of skeletons are on display next door at his privately-owned Museum of Osteology.
Where? The factory is in Oklahoma City, but there are two of his unique museums—Orlando and Oklahoma City. No factory tours allowed though—the blood, guts, and smells would turn anyone's stomach!
How? The cleaning begins with cutting and sometimes boiling detritus from the bones, but the stars of the show are the millions of free laborers: carrion beetles whose job it is to finish the cleaning of the bones. Scores of terrariums house these busy workers which remove every bit of anything NOT bone. Lastly, the bones are bathed in a hydrogen peroxide bath.
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.