As you work your way through the new Bell Museum, you may spot what looks like chalk drawings of creatures and concepts high up on the wall. Those represent “field notes”—a way that scientists, artists and others record observations. By making notes, collecting specimens, and seeking evidence, we are able to make connections among elements of the natural world.
Watch the video below to see how Minneapolis artist Adam Dennis brought sketches from real scientific field notes and studies to life at the new museum (in addition to an exceptional mural of his own design near our main entrance). Dennis’ career was inspired by Minnesota’s rich legacy of wildlife artistry and his experience of drawing, observing, and experiencing the natural world growing up in Mound, Minnesota.
His work explores humanity and nature—recognizing that we are not separate entities, but one and the same—just as the museum explores the undeniable bond between art and science.
Video: Eve Daniels
Art: Adam Dennis, et al.
Many of the paintings included in the Field Notes project were inspired by actual field notes from Bell-affiliated artists and naturalists. Check out a few of the original sketches that inspired the artwork on walls throughout the Bell.
Black Ducks Landing, Francis Lee Jaques, pencil sketch, n.d. Jaques was especially interested in waterfowl and was a master at depicting them in flight. His mastery was based on intensive observation of birds in the field and numerous carefully drawn sketches. Swipe to see the artistic rendering on Bell Museum walls.
Walter Breckenridge, pen and ink, c. 1932. As a relatively new preparator at the Bell Museum of Natural History, Walter Breckenridge was assigned to do all the more technical illustrations for the book Birds of Minnesota written by museum director T. S. Roberts. Swipe image to see artistic rendering on Bell Museum walls.