Mankind has been recording its impressions of wildlife at least since charcoal and berry juice on cave walls were the media of choice.
So it is appropriate that America's newest museum devoted to wildlife should be plopped down next to a national park and literally across the street from several thousand elk.The National Museum of Wildlife Art building is an attraction itself, seeming to rise from a hillside like an angular, beige boulder.
Some galleries emphasize a theme. The American Bison Collection traces artists' renderings of the animal from the 18th through the 19th centuries.
In another gallery, the palette, paints, easel and sketchbooks of premier outdoor artist Carl Rungius are displayed in a diorama, helping museum visitors understand what it might have been like to sit on the prairie and work from life. Yet another gallery recreates the Jackson Hole studio of John Clymer, along with his commentary on his work.
The most innovative gallery is one devoted to helping children appreciate the techniques as well as the subjects on display elsewhere.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art is 21/2 miles north of Jackson, Wyo., on U.S. 89. Fees are $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $10 for families; children 6 and younger admitted free. For information, call (307) 733-5771.