JOHN M. EDSON HALL OF BIRDS

The John M. Edson Hall of Birds includes an example of what amateur ornithologist Edson’s study would have looked like in the 1930s and ’40s.

Opens March 16, 2017, Old City Hall

This new exhibit in Old City Hall provides a glimpse into the local history and culture of the Victorian Era, when taxidermy flourished and mounted animals often decorated interior spaces. For the Museum, this collection of birds is also important to the building’s history. If it hadn’t been for John M. Edson, Old City Hall might not be standing here today. While city officials were considering demolishing it, Edson saw an opportunity to not only save the building, but also to create a public museum within its walls. He dreamed of having a permanent home for his bird specimen collection, and the museum became the perfect showcase.

Now, more than 75 years later, the Whatcom Museum is taking this important collection and reinterpreting it as an educational experience. Designed in collaboration with the North Cascades Audubon Society, the new exhibit will provide opportunities to learn about bird migration, conservation success stories, birds in peril, and the importance of studying bird specimens today. Alongside the interpretive panels and the birds themselves, the Hall of Birds will provide a variety of interactive opportunities, including video clips of birds in our local habitats, audio files of Puget Sound-area bird calls, and hands-on activities for children. We look forward to sharing this important collection with visitors for years to come.