John James Audubon Center to unveil $13 million museum at Mill Grove

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The $13 million project will offer interactive and family-friendly ways to explore the legacy of famed ornithologist John James Audubon and the conservation movement he inspired. The front entrance is shown above. (MONTCO.Today photo)

The John James Audubon Center, in partnership with Montgomery County, will celebrate the grand opening of a new 18,000-square-foot museum and nature-based facility at historic Mill Grove.

The building, a $13 million project, will offer interactive and family-friendly ways to explore the legacy of famed ornithologist John James Audubon and the conservation movement he inspired. The new Audubon Center museum joins the existing historic house, barn and nature trails at Mill Grove to provide an immersive visitor destination while continuing to serve as a haven for birds and wildlife.

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The Audubon Center’s new museum will serve as an educational facility dedicated to engaging visitors with the natural world of birds while preserving John James Audubon’s artistic, scientific and historic work.

Galleries & Permanent Exhibits:

Drawn From Nature – the John James Audubon Gallery: Around 1820, Audubon declared his intention to paint every bird in North America, resulting in the now world-renowned body of work of 435 images – known as Birds of America. With fewer than 200 complete sets ever printed, visitors will get a rare view of an early edition Double Elephant Folio of Birds of America and the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America in the Audubon Gallery. A life-size digital version of Birds of America will captivate guests as they browse featured species.

WOW Birds! Gallery: This space showcases the beauty, variety, sounds and songs, graceful flight and presence of birds along the Atlantic Flyway. Learn about the process of Bird Banding and its modern role in migration research. Immerse yourself in the Sound Forest to experience bird songs in different habitats. Take a close look at feathers and nests, and learn why not all eggs are shaped the same. Take Flight as you discover how birds’ wings work and trace the migration patterns of your favorite flock via a digital flyway map.

Conservation Stories: Learn why conservation became a driving force to protect birds today. The story of Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program and Project Puffin illustrate Audubon’s pioneering work in saving and conserving rare and endangered species. Learn how Audubon biologists used creative methods of social attraction to restore the populations of Atlantic Puffins on the coast of Maine after nearly disappearing from this area, which became the model for social attraction projects worldwide.

Outdoor Features:

Pawlings Porch: Birdwatch over a wildflower meadow and learn more about the birds and native plants in the area.

Fledgling Trail: Funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, this outdoor installation is a fun and playful take on a bird’s life from egg to flight. Children of all ages can experience simulated milestones for a baby bird. From “hatching” out of an oversized egg to feeling the sway of a “tree” and the first “flight,” visitors will discover the steps that a baby bird must take to successfully leave the nest. The Fledgling Trail will also include a sensory garden, water features and ADA-accessible play areas.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Mill Grove grounds are open year-round, dawn – dusk.)

Admission:Adult – $14, Seniors (65+) – $12, Youth (ages 6 – 17) – $10, Children (age 5 or younger) & Active Military (along with immediate family members) – Free.

The center is hoping for a June opening. To learn more click here. 

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