Audubon's Birds of America

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

Closes Jan 12, 2020

All ages

Alert

Included with Basic admission

Closes Jan 12, 2020

All ages

Behold Audubon’s vivid, life-size bird illustrations.

John James Audubon had a lofty goal: to paint every kind of bird in North America. The result was a book of illustrations so vibrant and detailed that it changed how people saw wildlife.

See The Birds of America up close to appreciate both the beauty and accuracy of Audubon’s work. This three-foot-tall volume depicts hundreds of life-size birds in their habitats. A Roseate Spoonbill drinks delicately from a river, and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers zero in on their next meal. Marvel at the bright colors, the sense of movement, and the detail in every feather.  

The exhibition is presented in both English and Spanish. La exhibición está presentada en inglés y español.

Two birds with very long, thin beaks poke around at the edge of the water. They’re a light yellow-tan color on the underside, with dark brown patterned wings folded on their backs. They have lanky, blue legs. Green reeds are directly behind the birds, and a small city skyline is off in the far distance.

Audubon’s illustration of Long-billed Curlews in Charleston, SC.

One of the rarest books in the world

Audubon’s works were masterpieces of printmaking. Each image was etched into copper, printed, and then painted by hand. It took twelve years, from 1827 to 1838, for Audubon to create the prints. Only around 120 known sets remain today.

Our copy of Audubon's famous bird book is especially rare: it’s one of only two with extra prints that combine multiple images. In Audubon's Birds of America, learn more about the artist's process through his personal journal and bird specimens from our collection.