When they're off duty, these natural history museum exhibits find themselves in strange and hilarious positions

Photographer Klaus Pichler gained access behind the scenes of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna and captured the exhibits while they aren't on display. What he found were striking and often amusing views of sharks out of water, unexpected collections of cobras, and prehistoric humans stored alongside classical works of art.

Pichler spent three years photographing the depots, cellars, and storage rooms of various museum departments for his Skeletons in the Closet series, giving us a view of the museum that the public doesn't usually get to see. There are plenty of surprises in his photographs. Sometimes they're mere juxtapositions of the mundane storage spaces with the bones and taxidermied critters we don't see in day-to-day life. In other cases, the off-duty exhibits form strange and even dramatic scenes.

The photographic exhibit is just closing up at, appropriately, the Museum of Natural History, but you can see more of the photos from this series at Pichler's website.

Skeletons in the Closet [Klaus Pichler via Neatorama]

When they're off duty, these natural history museum exhibits find themselves in strange and hilarious positions

When they're off duty, these natural history museum exhibits find themselves in strange and hilarious positions

When they're off duty, these natural history museum exhibits find themselves in strange and hilarious positions

When they're off duty, these natural history museum exhibits find themselves in strange and hilarious positions