“It’s In Your Nature”: Love, Retail, and Taxidermy at Cabela’s Worlds Foremost Outfitter

What happens when a department store, natural history museum and amusement center exist under one roof? We see different combinations of these features in the world already. Natural history museums surely have gift stores in them, built strategically, requiring one to pass through it at the end of their visit. But this gift shop is small and separated from the museum proper. Department stores will include aspects of children’s entertainment such as gumball machines, monitors showing cartoons and kid friendly displays, but the store merchandise is still segregated into separate audiences (men, women and children) and not woven together to promote family interactivity. If each of these features is housed under one enormous roof without walls to partition their relationships, what comes to light?

Cabela’s World’s Foremost Outfitter begins to answer this question. Cabela’s is a colossal hunting supply store with the most popular online and write in presence of any hunting retailer. [1] The massive storefronts include museum quality taxidermy displays complete with fully painted dioramas and sculpted mountainous footing. This display of North American fauna surrounds the entirety of the store and culminates in one central display: “Conservation Mountain”. Cabela’s also features an indoor café, arcade games, a kid’s toy and candy section and a souvenir penny presser among their typical retail items such as hunting rifles, camouflage gear, sub zero tents and skinning knives. Without dividing walls the politics of these spaces speak openly to one another. What are they saying? Using the strategic abilities of storefront displays and natural history dioramas, Cabela’s naturalizes man’s purpose to conquer, and normalizes capitalist consumption as both educational and environmentally responsible and makes the legacy entirely family friendly.