As we enter the fall celebration of our 10th year, an exhibition from JCSM’s Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Collection will return the prints from their much need year-long rest to the galleries that bear the collection’s name. This exhibition focuses on native plants represented in The Birds of America, which are present in Auburn University’s Donald E. Davis Arboretum. Celebrating its 50th year, the Davis Arboretum was begun in 1963 as a collection of native trees of the Southeastern United States. Over the years, this collection has been expanded, not only increasing the number of tree species, but also native shrubs and herbaceous plants. The Arboretum has also established areas of native habitats that represent various ecosystems in Alabama. As the plantings and diversity have increased, so has the diversity of the bird population.
While JCSM has been preparing for Audubon in the Arboretum, the arboretum has been constructing a new walking path that will lead visitors through a living exhibition of the plants represented in Audubon’s prints. Audubon often chose the most spectacular plants in the birds’ environments on which to situate them. The native plants pictured in the prints feature some of the Southeast’s most beautiful blooms – the southern magnolia, the dogwood, cross vine and trumpet vine, yellow jasmine, oak leaf hydrangea – as well as stately trees—oaks, tulip poplars, the sycamore. These plants are not mere backdrop to the bird portraits; rather they are as in nature, part and parcel of the rich environment Audubon closely observed.
We hope that while this exhibition is on view that visitors will take the time to also visit the living exhibition at the arboretum located a half a mile north of the museum.