115 Text

Do you have any idea why the museum might have a beaver hide on display? In the late 1500s, felt hats made from beaver fur were a very popular fashion in Europe. The Europeans traded with the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois people who live here and across New York State for beaver fur. This region was home to thousands of beavers in 1624, the Dutch reportedly shipped 1500 beaver skins from New York to Europe to be made into hats.

Why do you think people wanted their hats made of beaver fur? Think hard about where beavers live. Do you know? Well, they live in water…so in fact, their fur is waterproof! Now that makes sense to have a hat made of beaver fur…Europeans may have had dry heads but sadly by the 19th century, beavers nearly became extinct in North America. That means there were almost none left. We are thankful that fashions changed and beavers began to grow in numbers up until today.

If you would like to watch a beaver build a dam scan the QR code at this stop.

I hope you enjoyed this audio tour. Now, don’t forget to go back down by admissions and visit our Explorer’s Gallery where we have books, dress ups, and games for the whole family.