Birds are everywhere. They occupy our forests, fields, farms, beaches, backyards and even our homes. But many of us are largely unaware of the natural and cultural significance of these ubiquitous avian animals.
Running now through September 13, 2020, the New Jersey State Museum brings birdwatching indoors, displaying our fine feathered friends and their role as both an ecological mainstay and a source of creative inspiration. Through nearly 200 original objects, the exhibition explores the wild, wonderful world of birds and their impact on New Jersey decorative arts – including needlework samplers, hand-carved duck and shorebird decoys, as well as the porcelain birds of Mercer County ceramist Edward Marshall Boehm (1913-1969).
Boehm loved birds so much that he built huge aviaries on the grounds of his Titusville home. This allowed him to study the anatomy and habits of his fine feathered friends.
At his studio in Trenton, the artist replicated the avian world in hard-paste porcelain. Boehm began by sculpting a model of each species. He used the model to create molds and make limited-edition replicas. Each bird was then hand-assembled and hand-painted by a team of artists. Boehm’s unique ceramic art form embodied technical mastery and grand artistic vision.
Located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; closed Mondays and all state holidays. Admission is free. For more information please visit state.nj.us/state/museum or call (609) 292-6464.