Soft Cover $19.95
Reflecting the Sublime revives a lost museum exhibition which stands at the nexus of wildlife history, art, and conservation: William Hornaday’s American Bison Group. This historic tableaux of six full-mounted wild bison–an early version of the familiar diorama–was collected in 1886 in what is now eastern Montana, and prepared by Chief Taxidermist Hornaday for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 1887-88. The book is a product of the author’s research over the past 25 years, revealing the story of the Bison Group, which left the National Museum in the mid-1950s, returning then to its state of origin. The book reviews the specimens’ tenure at the National Museum; their decades in obscurity after the mid-1950s; and their recent restoration as a compelling “habitat” display. In telling the story of the Group’s rebirth, the current book echoes the redemption of this important species today, in an era when bison themselves continue their “renaissance” in numbers and in the public imagination. As we enter a critical new century for the preservation of wildlife and the environment, the venerable bison tableaux regains life and meaning as our nation’s first symbol for the conservation of this incomparable wild species–the American bison, or “buffalo.” Arrival of this visually stunning book marks the first time the full story of this forgotten American treasure has been told.