This Romanian museum of hunting arms and taxidermy trophies is often found quiet and empty – all dark wood, fur, horn, and tooth.
Most of the trophies are from the late 19th and early 20th century. Entire foxes hang upside down by their feet, while mounted vulture heads stare out over rows of chamois horns. The walls of the museum are entirely covered with animals. In the second room, a huge bear is mounted, batting at the air with an enormous paw. Just to his left, the mounted head of a hunting hound is snarled with equal fierceness; the dog was killed by the bear, the bear by the dog’s owner. Both were mounted, one as trophy, the other as homage.
The large game room features “impressive trophies of large, Carpathian game (stag, bear, wild boar, chamois) most of them awarded at national and international contests of the period between World Wars, reflecting the exceptional value of the Romanian game.”
The museum is named after a well-known personality of Sibiu in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries: Colonel August von Spiess, the Keeper of the Royal Hunting under the King Ferdinand I of Romania. Not just named for him, the museum also has a whole room dedicated to von Speiss; the memorial room is full of photographs from African safaris and Speiss’ own arms and trophies.
Those with an interest in natural history museums and Victorian taxidermy will be fascinated by this unique collection, trophies of a time, and mindset, long past.