Smithsonian Indoor and Outdoor Exhibits Showcase Extinct Birds

March 25, 2014
News Release

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Great Auk Sculpture

Smithsonian Gardens will present “The Lost Bird Project,” an exhibit by artist Todd McGrain, March 27 through March 15, 2015. This project recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing North American birds that have been driven to extinction. Co-sponsored by Smithsonian Libraries, it will feature large-scale bronze sculptures of the Carolina parakeet, the Labrador duck, the great auk, the heath hen and the passenger pigeon.

Four of the sculptures will be installed in the Enid A. Haupt Garden, a 4.2-acre public rooftop garden between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Avenue. The fifth sculpture, the passenger pigeon, will be installed in the Urban Habitat Garden at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

“Smithsonian Gardens is extremely honored to host The Lost Bird Project sculptures created by Todd McGrain,” said Barbara Faust, director of Smithsonian Gardens. “It is our hope that these beautiful works of art raise awareness of modern extinction and engage visitors to interact with our gardens.”

The Smithsonian Libraries will also present, “Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America,” on view at the National Museum of Natural History June 24 through October 2015. The exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of Martha the passenger pigeon, the last member of a species that once filled America’s skies.

In addition, the Smithsonian Libraries will screen “The Lost Bird Project” documentary at the National Museum of Natural History Nov. 20. It tells the story of the five bird species and follows McGrain’s efforts to install his sculptures in locations where the birds were last seen. The film will be followed by a brief talk by the artist and a book signing.


LostBirdProject_trailer from Lost Bird Project on Vimeo.

About Smithsonian Gardens

Smithsonian Gardens was established in 1972 to manage the grounds of the Smithsonian museums and to create interior and exterior horticultural exhibitions. Its research and educational programs promote the ongoing development of collections of living plants, garden documentation and horticultural artifacts. For more information, visit the Smithsonian Gardens website.

About Smithsonian Libraries

The Smithsonian Libraries maintains a collection of more than 2 million volumes and serves as an educational resource for the Smithsonian Institution, the global research community and the public. The Libraries are located in Washington, Edgewater, Md., New York City and the Republic of Panama. For more information, visit the Smithsonian Libraries website.


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