John James Audubon: The Birds of America

January 27, 2020 to January 18, 2021

John James Audubon’s lifelong work, The Birds of America, is considered a masterpiece of early American art. His over 400 vibrant, life-size images of birds depicted in natural settings were a major departure from the stiff images found in contemporary natural-history illustration. His aspiration to see his watercolors published as a print edition was ambitious; no other artist or naturalist at this time had attempted to reproduce illustrations on such a large scale, nor with such exacting detail.

The two major 19th-century print editions of The Birds of America are the Havell edition and the Bien edition. Both editions, represented in the permanent collection of the Illinois State Museum, are faithful to Audubon’s original watercolors and are examples of the best of 19th-century printing history.

This exhibit features 13 Bien edition and 1 Havell edition prints from the Illinois State Museum collection.

Temporary Exhibitions
There are no temporary exhibits on view or scheduled at this time. Check back for updates.
Visitor Information
10956 N. Dickson Mounds Rd.
(309) 547-3721

Hours: Tue-Sat: 10-4:00 
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.