Center for PostNatural History examines genetic engineering, domestication
Center for Postnatural History
Some might say Freckles the goat was a freak. Others would say she was a modern wonder. She was genetically engineered by a Canadian company to produce milk that could be spun into spider silk. The superstrong fibers were intended for high-tech uses like bulletproof vests or artificial tendons, but in 2009 the company went bankrupt. A taxidermied Freckles now greets visitors to a tiny storefront in Pittsburgh.
Her new home is the Center for PostNatural History, a museum opened in 2012 by Richard Pell, who teaches electronic media art at Carnegie Mellon University. Pell curates the museum and also tends the front desk.
As visitors pass through a curtain to enter the darkened exhibition space, they see a spectacularly fluffy white ornamental chicken and an aquarium full of glowing fish. Pell classifies both the silkie chicken and the GloFish®, genetically engineered to produce fluorescent jellyfish proteins, as &ldquo