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June 4 - September 18, 2011

Exhibition review in the Denver Post

John James Audubon (1785-1851) is known today for his remarkable work “The Birds of America.” He led a complex life, starting as the illegitimate child of a French sea captain in what is now Haiti, traveling to France and then to Pennsylvania to start anew after the French revolution, and embarking on a lifelong study of birds and other animals that would eventually bring him fame and fortune. A chance encounter with ornithologist Alexander Wilson in 1810 led Audubon to embark on a vast project, a life-sized color folio of all the birds of North America.

His project would take 28 years to come to fruition. He spent 16 years studying and drawing birds, pioneering a lifelike portrayal of them, unlike the stiff and awkward bird portraits of his contemporaries. Unable to find a publisher in the U.S., he traveled to England, and after a strike halted work at his first engraver, began a partnership with the English engraver Robert Havell Jr. In June of 1838, his magnum opus, “The Birds of America,” was published to wide acclaim.

Audubon’s “The Birds of America” is a remarkable artistic and printing achievement. The completed first edition consists of four volumes containing 435 individual hand-colored plates showing 1,065 birds. Each volume weighed 50 pounds, and fewer than 200 sets were produced originally.

The Longmont Museum is very proud to present an exhibition of 64 prints from Audubon’s first edition, plus four large animal prints from his later Imperial Quadrupeds edition and prints from later editions and several of Audubon’s contemporaries. This exhibition also features several original oil paintings by Audubon, as well as personal belongings such as the silver cup presented to his engraver upon completion of the publication of volume two of “The Birds of America.”

Audubon’s legacy is remarkable. By drawing attention to the majesty of the birds and mammals of North America, he inspired a conservation movement. The Audubon Society was founded in his honor, and his name remains synonymous with conservation and bird preservation to this day.

John J. Audubon: American Artist and Naturalist will be on exhibit at the Longmont Museum from June 4 through September 18.

Adults $7
Students/seniors $5
Under 12 free
Join the Friends of the Museum today to visit this exhibit as many times as you like for free.

Programs & Events

PDF version of the programs and events brochure

Opening reception for John J. Audubon: Artist and Naturalist.
Friday, June 3, 7 pm

Join the Friends of the Longmont Museum now to receive your invitation to this special event.

Coffee and Conversation with Museum Director Wesley Jessup
Friday, June 17, 9:30- 11:00 am

$7, Free for Friends members
Pre-Registration encouraged

Enjoy a morning of art, coffee, and conversation about the Audubon exhibit with Longmont Museum Director Wesley Jessup.

John J. Audubon and the Roots of the Conservation Movement
Thursday, July 21, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

$7, Free for Friends members
Audubon's magnificent paintings inspired a generation of outdoorsmen and nature enthusiasts in the late 1800s. With vintage photos and beautiful wildlife images, Ken Strom, Director of Audubon Colorado, will connect Audubon's legacy to today's conservation movement.

Bird Tales: Stories and Folk Songs
Performed by Brian "Fox" Ellis
Thursday, July 28, 10 to 10:30 am
Included with exhibit admission
Ages 4 and up
Weaving his lifelong love for birds with traditional folktales from many cultures, storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis takes listeners on the migratory flyways of our winged friends.

Birding in the Galleries
With Brian "Fox" Ellis"
Thursday, July 28, 1 - 2 pm
$12 residents, $15 nonresidents, Free for Friends members
Ages 8-12
Pre-registration required
Join Brian "Fox" Ellis as he portrays John J. Audubon in this interactive tour. Ellis/Audubon will engage children to fly like eagles and draw their own "Birds of America."

Adventures with Audubon
Friday, July 29, 10:00 am - noon
$10 residents, $15 nonresidents, Free for Friends members
Pre-Registration encouraged
Join John J. Audubon, portrayed by Brian Fox Ellis, on a tour of the gallery as he mixes ornithology, art, science and history while regaling us with stories of discovery and adventure.

Let's Go Birding with Audubon!
Saturday July 30, 7:30 – 9:30 am
$15 residents, $20 nonresidents, $10 for Friends members
Pre-Registration required
Join Brian Fox Ellis, "Mr. Audubon," along with Boulder County Audubon Society President Petrea Mah on a bird watching adventure.
Begins at Sandstone Ranch Visitors Center, 3001 E. Ken Pratt Blvd.

Live Raptors with the Birds of Prey Foundation
Saturday, August 20, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Included with exhibit admission
See these majestic creatures up close as Rachel Mansfield explores wildlife rehabilitation, ecology, natural history, and fun bird facts with live raptors.

His Life and His Art: Audubon Up Close
Saturday, Aug. 27, 10:00 – 11: 00 am

$10 residents, $15 nonresidents, Free for Friends members
Pre-Registration encouraged
Get up close and personal with Audubon's prints as Tam O'Neill of Tam O'Neill Fine Arts reveals this artist's story, the hardships he faced, and what it took to accomplish his life's work.