Art and wildlife lovers alike will enjoy a visit to the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming. Guests will appreciate the beauty of the many forms of art found inside - paintings, photographs, sculpture - as well as learning about local wildlife from a whole new perspective. The wildlife museum opened in Jackson, Wyoming in 1987 after a 3-year planning expedition by the ten founding members/trustees.
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In 1992, it was acknowledged that the museum had since outgrown what was then a 5,000-square foot gallery space and money was raised for it to move to its current, 51,000 square foot location where it has existed comfortably since 1994. It has received awards and accolades since then, like the designation of “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” (which came via an order from Congress). The museum is visited by over 65,000 people every year.
The museum features many different galleries, and many of those galleries are considered temporary or rotating. The below list features the long-term gallery exhibits that are the central permanent part of the collection.
Greene Pathways Gallery - This long-term gallery focuses on the museum’s main mission and goal of helping humans to better their relationship with nature and wildlife, especially as the museum is located in the middle of what is considered the “Greater” Yellowstone ecosystem. With a selection of unique Western art sculptures and paintings that represents the history of the region (focusing on the local wildlife). Visitors continuing down the gallery will see that local focus expand to a national one through both contemporary and historic artwork with North American wildlife as the focus. Guests should make sure not the miss Peaceable Kingdom, a famous painting by Edward Hicks.
JKM Gallery - In this gallery installation, the art is arranged by theme, which allows visitors to be introduced to the various themes that they may encounter when viewing wildlife artwork outside of the museum campus. This gallery also includes the majority of their permanent collection that is considered “core holdings,” from artists such as George Catlin, Georgia O’Keefe, Charles Russell, and more.
Widener Gallery - The artists featured in the European Widener Gallery are often cited as being a large influence in the works of the United States artists featured in many of the other galleries of the museum. Greats like Edwin Landseer, Richard Friese, and Auguste Rodin are often acknowledged as being at the forefront of wildlife art.
Carl Rungius Gallery - The biggest public collection of works by Carl Rungius in the United States is located at the museum. Rungius is regarded as being one most important painters of North American wildlife and actually started his career not far from where the museum is located. He is well known for his portraits of mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bear.
Children’s Discovery Gallery - This beautifully designed and self-guided play area is open during regular hours and includes many hands on interactive experiences for children like the Puppet Theater and the Artist's Studio.
Nearly 5,000 students come through the museum doors yearly and the museum is always interested in seeing more! Their education department focuses entirely on developing curriculum, tours, and lessons for students from preschool through 12th grade. Their main focuses are using wildlife art to help teach natural science, art appreciation, western history, and creative writing. Field trips to the museum are offered at no cost to the student or school and include the many galleries located on the premises as well as time at the Children’s Discovery gallery for hands on play (if age appropriate). There are also many artists who visit the gallery and will give talks directly to the students. Call the museum for additional information, as well as to find out if there are any other concurrent programs being hosted (musicians, storytellers, etc). Another bonus is that each teacher who brings their class to the museum is given a complimentary membership to the museum.
Dining and Shopping
The museum recently opened a new restaurant on the ground called Palate. The windows look out onto the elk refuge and is nearly as scenic as the food served - which is a fine dining menu that includes sandwiches, salads, and a kid's menu… all elevated. Visitors should also check out the art shop before leaving, which offers a wide variety of apparel, books, jewelry, and items related to special exhibitions.
National Museum of Wildlife Art, 2820 Rungius Road, PO Box 6825, Jackson, WY, 83002, website, Phone: 307-733-5771