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National Museum of Wildlife Art Celebrates 25 Years

The National Museum of Wildlife Art celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012.

Exterior of National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Ed Riddell.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art has come a long way in 25 years. In addition to its quarter-century anniversary, 2012 also marks the opening of the museum’s new Walter Hood-designed Sculpture Trail, the spearheading of a national exhibition providing a visual record of the American West as seen through the eyes of National Geographic’s legendary photographers, and a rare Bob Kuhn retrospective and companion book.

The museum’s collection began inauspiciously in 1962 with a small painting titled “Favorite Panfish” by Les Kouba given to Bill Kerr by his wife, Joffa. Two years later the couple bought a Carl Rungius piece, “Wanderers Above Timberline” on layaway, and by 1987 they had amassed one of the finest collections of wildlife and sporting art in the country. Together with several others, they opened the then Wildlife of the American West museum in a 5,000-square-foot space on Jackson’s Town Square.

Fast forward 25 years, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States – so designated by an act of Congress in 2008 and now housed in an architecturally significant stone building on a butte overlooking the National Elk Refuge north of the town of Jackson – has established itself as the world’s premier collector, exhibitor and interpreter of wildlife art.

A member of the Museums West consortium and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States provides an exciting calendar of exhibitions from its permanent collection and changing exhibitions from around the globe. A complete schedule of museum exhibitions and events is available online at

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