As summer 2021 comes to a close, the National Museum of Wildlife Art reflects on a blockbuster summer, with an increase in attendance, powerful exhibitions, and the return of in-person events.
“We were thrilled to see a 246% increase in visitor attendance this summer compared to last year, and a 23% increase compared to 2019!” says Steve Seamons, Director of the Museum. “With a large portion of our audience only able to engage with us digitally in 2020, it was refreshing for people to stand in front of art in person again, and for the entire summer.” In total nearly 30,000 people visited the Museum from May to August this year, a staggering increase from 2020. August saw the second highest single attendance day in Museum history with 900 visitors in one day. The Museum also shattered monthly attendance records, with nearly 10,000 visitors during the month of August.
The Museum kicked off the season with the traveling exhibition, Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, followed by Valued Species: Animals in the Art of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. “Many visitors inquire about the Warhol Endangered Species series from our permanent collection, so it’s been great to have them on display,” says Seamons. Valued Species is up through October 3, 2021.
In addition to exhibitions, the Museum was able to host events again! First Sundays and the Sneak Peek program came back, allowing visitors a curator-led tour of exhibits before opening. Plein Air Fest, Etc. and Western Visions also went back to in-person, with health-safety measures in place.
The Museum didn’t stop there. Two Bisoncast episodes were released, There’s No White in Snow and Beyond Beauty, seeds have been planted for the start of the Greater Yellowstone Botanical Tour on the outside Sculpture Trail, and three Botanical Garden Workshops took place. “The Board of Directors and staff are proud of the forward momentum the Museum has put forth,” says Seamons.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art, a nonprofit founded in 1987, is a world-class art museum holding more than 5,000 artworks representing wild animals from around the world. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon, and Carl Rungius, the museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 B.C. to the present. Built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the museum received the designation “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008. Boasting a museum shop, interactive children’s gallery, restaurant, and outdoor sculpture trail, the museum is only two-and-a-half miles north of Jackson Town Square, and two miles from the gateway of Grand Teton National Park.