July 10, 2014 | By Jane Lavino
Mary Jane Bradbury performing as Nancy Russell at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
This week Mary Jane Bradbury, talented speaker, educator and actress treated Museum audiences to some first person interpretation in the persona of Nancy Cooper Russell, wife of famed “Cowboy Artist” Charles M. Russell (1864 –1926.) This well studied, intuitive actress provided tremendous interpretation to our exhibit Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell.
I was reminded of the power of storytelling as a teaching tool. Who doesn’t love compelling stories from a life well- lived? Nancy Russell’s life story includes a rise from poverty, discrimination, chance romance, stubborn determination, and valuable lessons learned. Stories provide the best kind of inspiration. Charlie himself, as a boy, skipped school to go down to the docks in St. Louis to hear travelers’ tales of the Wild West. Personal narratives motivated him to go west himself. Charlie’s own life experiences are told through his compelling paintings and sculptures. All art has a story to tell. Visit the Museum and get inspired!
By Jane Lavino, Sugden Family Curator of Education & Exhibits