Department of Parks
Audubon Brushes, Letter, Purchased For State Park Museum
HENDERSON, Ky. – The John James Audubon Museum has acquired new materials that came directly from the wildlife artist who lived in Henderson from 1810-1819.
A set of Audubon’s paint brushes and a letter he wrote in 1811 were recently purchased at auction by the Friends of Audubon, a group that supports the museum and the John James Audubon State Park at Henderson.
Museum Curator Alan Gehret learned about the items being sold at auction in New York in November and approached the Friends of Audubon group.
“The Audubon Museum houses the largest collection of Audubon paintings and artifacts in the country so it isn’t everyday that we find something totally new for the collection,” Gehret said. “The brushes went immediately to the top of our must have list.”
The friends group ended up paying $24,500 for the six brushes and the letter, Gehret said. The money came from private donations.
The letter caught Gehret’s attention because it told of Audubon’s experience in the winter of 1811 when he traveled from Henderson to St. Genevieve, Mo., with business partner Ferdinand Rozier. When they reached the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the ice began to break up and they were stranded for several weeks.
In the manuscript Audubon describes with delight this unexpected chance to explore the wilds of the lower Ohio River Valley, hunting, communing with the Native Americans and fur trappers, and how they survived against the cold.
Over the years the Friends of Audubon have made many major purchases on behalf of the Audubon Museum, including one of the rare original copper plates used to produce the “Birds of America.”
Gehret said the new items are expected to arrive by the end of the month.
The museum interprets Audubon’s life through his art and personal memorabilia, framed within a timeline of world events. A nature center features a wildlife observatory. And a giant bird’s nest is the centerpiece of the Discovery Center, with hands-on exhibits and educational programs.
The museum sells a variety of prints reproduced from the Audubon collection and unique gifts to help you explore nature. For more information, call 270-826-2247.
During December, January and February, the museum is open (CT) Wednesday through Sunday. It’s open daily during March-November.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 52 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov