The Insect Asylum Museum exhibits thousands of insects, rare taxidermy

CHICAGO — Owner and curator of the Insect Asylum museum, Nina Salem, says she lives her life playing in the dirt.

You’ll see Salem’s lifelong collection on display in the brand new Avondale Museum. She has spent most of her life collecting and sourcing every piece in the collection through ethical and legitimate means. Salem prides itself on focusing on finding sustainable food and only picking things that will never fail in the wild.

The vast majority of the Insect Asylum Museum’s collection is made up of antiquities, which sets it apart from other major collections. They have insects dating back to 1910, creating a unique range of specimens on display for insect lovers.

After several career calls, Salmen wanted to do what she always loved. Growing up in the woods of New England, she developed a deep connection with nature. While spending time with her parents on hiking trails, she developed a strong passion for the outside world, collecting things she found along the way. These experiences had a profound effect on her with a deep devotion to teaching others.

“This space is designed to educate what people don’t understand, understanding the difference between all insects will make them less scary and hopefully break stereotypes of certain insects,” Salem said.

The educational element is found upstairs in the Education Center space where “tangibles” are on display for all to experience. The educational part of the day is a supplement for the use of the material, many interactive lessons are offered to learn how to pin and display the insects.

Art and insects intersect

“I wanted to create a space where parents weren’t saying, ‘Keep your hands in your pockets, kids,'” she said. “I have autism and couldn’t help myself as a kid. I want kids to touch and explore everything I have to offer in space.

Educational spaces and classes, artwork and insect education are the themes of this space and a true labor of love for Salem. All of these passions are apparent when you see the taxidermy, insects, artwork and jewelry on display.

To learn more about the Insect Asylum Museum, Click here.

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