Project Description

On earth since the dinosaur, birds—the fascinating creatures that flock, roost, migrate, sing, fly, and have adapted to some of the most extreme habitats on earth—have always sparked human imagination. They figure prominently in the arts, literature, mythology, science, and popular culture.

Berkshire Museum’s new exhibition Taking Flight: Audubon and the World of Birds centers on John James Audubon and his passion for birds, which drove him to create The Birds of America, a revolutionary work of science and art that launched Audubon’s reputation as the world’s most renowned wildlife artist.

More than thirty original Havell prints from The Birds of America paired with bird specimens from the Museum’s collection comprise the centerpiece of the exhibition. Learn how Audubon’s obsession drove him to extremes to produce the watercolors for the engravings that comprise the most valuable book in the world. Experience Audubon’s rugged wilderness existence while researching for The Birds of America. Understand the science of feathers and flight, the many different bird habitats, the highly-evolved senses of birds, bird intelligence, and bird behavior in a series of galleries containing a wide array of photographs and video, art, objects, specimens, and samples of birds, eggs, and nests.

In uncovering surprising facts about our feathered friends that will awe and inspire, visitors to Taking Flight: Audubon and the World of Birds will come to appreciate the diversity and wonder of birds, the resilient and beautiful creatures that have taken flight in our hearts and imaginations for millenia.

Sponsored by


Photography by William Wright