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"Study of a Tulip, Two Crocus, and Two Beetles," circa 1690, by Maria Sibylla MerianA new exhibit exploring depictions of beasts, plants, and animals from the 1500s through the 1800s opens Friday, September 12, at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Birds, Bugs, and Blooms: Natural History Illustration from the 1500s–1800s explores more than 300 years of the intersection of science and art through rare books, prints, and objects. The exhibit will run through January 4, 2015.

More than fifty items are on view, highlighting how increasing access to books, travel, and technology, as well as the evolution of knowledge, changed the way illustrations were created and interpreted. From fantastical images of beasts in the 1500s to extremely accurate depictions of plants and animals in the 1800s, the illustrations in the exhibit demonstrate the rapid advances of natural history during the print age.

"Banded Watersnake and Pine Lily," 1736, by Mark CatesbySeveral exhibit-related programs are planned. Free family programming includes Family Fun Days on September 27 and November 1, and a Stroller Tour for parents, caregivers, and young children on October 6.

Other programming includes a natural history illustration workshop, “Using Scratchboard to Create Lifelike Illustrations,” on October 5, and lectures on natural history and illustration by Barney Lipscomb, Leonhardt Chair of Botany at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, on Oct. 22 and by UT Professor of History Denise Phillips on November 6.

See the online exhibit for more programming details.

Birds, Bugs, and Blooms is curated by Catherine Shteynberg and Christine Dano Johnson. Lenders include Arader Galleries, Gordon Burghardt, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and UT Special Collections Library. The exhibit is presented by Arader Galleries, W. Graham Arader III, the UT Federal Credit Union, Ready for the World, ARAMARK, Bennett Galleries, and the Ardath and Joel E. Rynning Museum Fund. Additional support is provided by Knox County, the City of Knoxville, and the Arts and Heritage Fund.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on weekdays. Free parking is available on Circle Park Drive on a first-come, first-served basis on weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is available on the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

Additional parking information is available online.

For more information about the McClung Museum and its collections and exhibits, visit the website.


Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921,

Christina Selk (865-974-2143,