One of the most breathtaking museums to experience isn’t designed by Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano. It isn’t flashy or futuristic. Situated on a red sandstone cliff overlooking an Elk refuge sits (no, emerges) the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, WY. A decapitated castle of sorts – the museum is constructed of uneven layers of the metamorphic rock Quartzite. Designed in 1987 (completed in 1994) by Fentress Bradburn of Denver, CO (architects of those crazy twin towers in Dubai “The Dancing Sisters,” among other marvels around the world), the 51,000 sq. ft. museum was inspired by the ruins of Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland – a 16th century castle overlooking the North Sea.
In the fall, the Museum opened a three-quarter-mile Sculpture Trail, designed by landscape architect Walter Hood. Hood has been called a “community whisperer,” creating spaces that people want before they know they want them. The Trail features 30 works of art including Richard Loffler’s 64-foot-long heroic-sized bronze sculpture, Buffalo Trail. Five bison and two calves rendered in motion, it’s so natural in its placement that visitors expect to see dust flying out behind the hooves.
Richard Loffler’s bronze sculpture, Buffalo Trail. Photo: National Museum of Wildlife Art