The University of Georgia
Public Affairs Division
News Service

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writer: Beth Gavrilles, 706-542-7247, bethgav@uga.edu
Contact: Bud Freeman, 706-583-0978, budfree@uga.edu

Museum of Natural History reopens with special exhibition

Athens, Ga. - The Georgia Museum of Natural History, which has been closed for extensive renovations for more than 10 months, will reopen Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. with a reception for the new exhibition Lost Species, Visions of Landscapes Past.

The reception will feature a discussion by landscape artist Philip Juras, whose paintings are included in the exhibition, and a short reading by nature writer Dorinda Dallmeyer, director of the University of Georgia Environmental Ethics Certificate Program. The free reception is open to the public.

Lost Species, Visions of Landscapes Past explores historic Southern landscapes and the species that inhabited them. It features specimens of long-lost iconic species such as the ivory-billed woodpecker, Carolina parakeet and passenger pigeon and Juras' paintings of pre-settlement Southeastern landscapes.

"The blending of Philip's celebrated art with objects from the museum's collections will allow the visitor to imagine how the world appeared when these now extinct species inhabited the Southern landscape," said Bud Freeman, museum director who works in the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

"The exhibition of these rare specimens, some from the museum's own collection and several on loan from the Ohio State University Museum of Natural History, is a unique opportunity for the public to view important materials of our natural heritage. We felt it was important to create a special exhibit to celebrate the opening of the new gallery and welcome the community back to the museum."

Juras, who received his bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts from UGA, has long been interested in pre-settlement Southern landscapes. He combines direct observation with historical, scientific and natural history research to depict-and in some cases recreate-landscapes as they appeared in the 1770s.

His recent exhibition, Philip Juras: The Southern Frontier, Landscapes Inspired by Bartram's Travels, explored the Southern wilderness as eighteenth century naturalist William Bartram described it. Lost Species, Visions of Landscapes Past includes several of the paintings from The Southern Frontier. These and his new paintings were on display at the Telfair Museums in Savannah and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta in 2011.

The museum renovations began after a major drainage problem in the parking lot resulted in flooding in the museum's Discovery Room. The museum took the opportunity to reorganize and expand the public exhibit space and upgrade the classroom. After the grand reopening, the exhibit hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with additional hours on Saturday in 2012. The museum is located on the corner of Cedar Street and East Campus Road. For more information, see http://gmnh.uga.edu.

The Georgia Museum of Natural History is the repository for the preservation and study of the tangible evidence of the state's history, culture, natural heritage and people. It is a consortium of 11 important natural history collections, each the largest of its kind in Georgia, housed in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and supported by the UGA departments of anthropology, botany, entomology, geography, geology and plant pathology. The museum links collections, research, public service, and education through programs designed for a diverse audience.