Dedicated to images of wildlife, the museum originally opened in 1984 in a smaller location on the town square. Collections are now housed in a 51,000 square foot building with Idaho quartzite façade inspired by the ruins of Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, echoing the rugged hillside behind the facility.
The collection of American art from the 19th and 20th centuries record European exploration of the American West. Holdings cover various genres including explorer art, sporting art, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Modernism. In addition to special exhibitions, there are five long term installations on view, including a gallery dedicated to the work of Carl Rungius, the most important big-game hunter and the first career wildlife artist in North America in the first half of the 20th-century.
The Sculpture Trail features nearly more than two-dozen permanent and temporary works of art and offers an ever-changing view of art in the wild. The museum also houses a library and archives.
Read our review of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Art Things Considered - An Art Geek Travel Blog.
Whether you go or not, Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art is more than a museum catalogue. It offers descriptions of individual artists in the collection as well as in-depth, informative essays about what the natural environment has meant to Americans over time—untamed wilderness, sublime creation, endless resource, threatened habitat. Author and art historian Adam Duncan Harris also describes how these meanings have played out in painting and sculpture over the past two centuries. More than 125 full-color illustrations highlight the entire range of the museum’s collection, from the western wilds of George Catlin to the desert drama of Georgia O’Keeffe. Also included are elegant birdstones carved by ancient Americans, exquisite avian artwork by John James Audubon, epic western scenes by Albert Bierstadt, idealistic depictions of unspoiled wilderness by Carl Rungius, and modern takes on the subject by Andy Warhol, Paul Manship, and Robert Kuhn. By bringing together and comparing
Read our article about the National Museum of Wildlife Art, here. (6-minute read)
Read our article about Carl Rungius, here. (5-minute read)
Explores the history of wildlife art from Native American birdstones to Georgia O'Keeffe and more