Made In Chicago: Woolly Mammoth

CHICAGO (CBS) – Adam Rust and his wife Skye opened an antiques and oddities store seven years ago.

“We like to intersperse the merchandise and items we have here with equal parts creep and humor.”

Adam Rust is the owner of Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities in the Andersonville neighborhood.

Adam Rust owner of Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Adam Rust owner of Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Woolly Mammoth is a “curiosity cabinet of odd, amusing and eclectic items resurrected from the past. We specialize in vintage & antique taxidermy, anatomy items, medical stuffs, books, toys, skulls, bones, skeletons, military, funerary, art, charts, maps, tools, specimens, natural history, science, culture, industrial,” according to their website.

One of their items is a larger-than-life wiener dog, in a red velvet tuxedo with a cummerbund, that plays the violin.

“I call him ‘Fiddler on the Woof,'” Rust said.

A couple days ago the shop received a collection that Rust labeled, ‘Terrifying 19th Century Obstetric Midwife Instruments.’

Adam Rust gave WBBM’s Steve Miller an inside look of all the antiques and oddities the shop has to offer.

“These are Victorian dogs, taxidermy Victorian dogs in custom-made display cases,” Rust said. “So this is a Victorian terrier.  She’s sitting on four legs, except for the one leg is propped up as if she’s getting ready to maybe shake your hand.”

Rust also has a collection of two-headed taxidermy animals. The collection includes a full-mount, two-headed calf and a two-headed turtle. Rust also owned a cat with one head, but two bodies.

Full-mount, two-headed taxidermy calf (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Full-mount, two-headed taxidermy calf (WBBM/Steve Miller)

In his collection of art, Rust has a piece painted by a notorious artist.

“It’s a painting, almost a drawing, but it is paint, of Adolf Hitler. It’s a little caricature. A couple of lines and it says Adolf Hitler,” Rust said.

The painting is signed ‘J.W. Gacy,’ as in John Wayne Gacy.

Adolf Hitler painting by John Wayne Gacy (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Adolf Hitler painting by John Wayne Gacy (WBBM/Steve Miller)

Rust said he has a hard time accepting the fact that eventually, people he is close to will die.

“And being the armchair psychologist that I am,” Rust said. “I’ve sort of deduced that perhaps one reason that I surround myself literally with death and dead things is some type of way to desensitize myself to it.”

Adam Rust is 40-years old. He is originally from Southwest Wisconsin, near Spring Green.

Woolly Mammoth, is located at 1513 W. Foster Ave., near Clark.  The shop sells antiques and oddities ranging anywhere from $5 to $10, to about $10,000.

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