Mickey Alice Kwapis is a professionally trained, licensed taxidermist and traveling taxidermy instructor and founder of The Niche Lab. She has been working professionally in the taxidermy industry since March of 2012. Known internationally for her pop-up classes, Mickey teaches students everything they need to know to mount small mammals using traditional, museum-quality skin study specimen preservation techniques from start to finish in one class session.
Mickey practices sustainable taxidermy methods and has worked and taught at such institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Audubon Zoo, the University of Washington, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has also served as a consultant to novelist Lauren Beukes. Mickey currently works in the bird lab at both the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Field Museum. Her lectures are primarily targeted towards those with an interest in biology, science, and natural history but all taxidermy enthusiasts and curious people are welcome so long as they are respectful to the specimens and the teaching environment!
She also moonlights as a philanthropist, jeweler, merchant of antique biological models, and book artist. When Mickey isn't traveling for work, she enjoys collecting beach glass at Lake Michigan, climbing and adventuring, and lives with her dog Osiris, her rat Riff Ratt, and any number of rescue or foster animals in Chicago, Illinois.