Coming in June 2018
Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone and the American West
The golden eagle is the most powerful avian predator in North America but is facing many new challenges—challenges especially acute in the sagebrush-steppe environments of the American West. Once the most widespread native environment in North America, the sagebrush-steppe is now among its most imperiled. By 2080, the golden eagle is projected to lose 41 percent of breeding range and 16 percent of non-breeding range. Whether this apex predator will keep pace with an increasingly fragmented breeding range is uncertain.
Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone and the American West is an exciting, new exhibition that will immerse visitors in the sagebrush grasslands of Wyoming through recreated sandstone cliffs and other habitats, stunning video and photography, taxidermy mounts, models, and other natural history objects, Native American cultural materials, rock art, and engaging interactive elements. Through interactive storytelling and audiovisual presentations focused on the Draper Museum’s long-term golden eagle studies in the Bighorn Basin and similar studies in other regions of western North America, visitors will be introduced to the process, product, and adventure of scientific inquiry and discovery. The exhibition will provide an especially dynamic platform for ongoing educational programming about sagebrush-steppe landscapes and wildlife, cultural associations with eagles and other wildlife, and the process and importance of scientific problem-solving.
Monarch of the Skies is slated to open to the public in June 2018, and will become a permanent extension to the Draper Natural History Museum Alpine-to-Plains Trail exhibit experience. It will occupy the Draper’s lower level, adjacent to the Plains/Basin Environment, the Greater Yellowstone tile map, and the Draper Discovery Laboratory.
Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West
June 8, 2018 – September 30, 2018
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Gilcrease Museum have partnered to present a groundbreaking exhibition titled Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West. Bierstadt (1830–1902) is best known as America’s premier western landscape artist. He was also a renowned history painter, a rarely discussed element of his legacy. This major exhibition will address Bierstadt in context of his treatment not just of majestic mountains and lakes but more prominently of bison and American Indians, whom he approached as key subjects for his art.
Bierstadt’s history paintings conveyed moral messages as he strove to preserve the dignity of Native people like the Sioux and Shoshone, reveal the tragic slaughter of the American bison, and inspire empathy for the remnant herds of buffalo in Yellowstone National Park as the species neared extinction. The painter’s masterwork, The Last of the Buffalo (ca. 1888), stands as a powerful example of the national and international impact of Bierstadt’s art for Euro-American and Native people alike in the late nineteenth century. This and other selected works demonstrate the ways in which Bierstadt engaged with environmental and aesthetic issues of his time, and employed the subjects of Plains Indians and bison as iconic symbols of western America’s changing face.
The exhibition and namesake peer-reviewed publication will stand as unprecedented examinations of one of the nation’s most significant artists. This project will attract the attention of audiences familiar with Bierstadt’s complex legacy and those interested in the histories of conservation and wildlife management in America, our national parks, and the Indigenous peoples of the American West. Looking beyond the grand manner landscapes for which he is famous, this exhibition is inspired by Bierstadt’s paintings of American Indians and bison, and thus promotes fresh, new perspectives on a beloved American artist.
After its run at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, this exhibition travels to Gilcrease Museum, where it opens November 4, 2018, and runs through February 10, 2019.