Todd McGrain’s Lost Bird Series January 29, 2013  |  By Adam Harris

This time of year at the Museum revolves in large part around logistical planning for the upcoming summer’s exhibits. In addition to writing label copy and finalizing exhibit checklists, this month I have been talking to fine art shippers about load capacities and how to best distribute the weight of five six-foot-tall bird sculptures that are scheduled to appear here in the Museum’s amphitheater.

The sculptures in question are Todd McGrain’s Lost Bird series, which depict five avian species that were driven to extinction in the last century. The birds are the Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk, the Labrador Duck, the Heath Hen, and the Carolina Parakeet. McGrain sculpted the much-larger-than-life-sized birds to memorialize each species and to remind us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. The sculptor placed one casting of each bird at a place associated with its last known sighting. The casts arriving at the Museum this summer make a powerful impact when presented together.

They also provide us with a great teaching moment, to educate people about the location of the other casts, giving them the chance to think about extinction and conservation both here in Jackson Hole and on a more national scale. If all goes as planned, the birds will arrive in June, with a grand unveiling at Mix’d Media on the 13th. Hope to see you here!

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