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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Discover how scientific texts are created and illustrated in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s newest temporary exhibit, “Birds of the World: From Science to Art,” opening Aug. 13.

Based on the book “Birds of the World,” written by Oliver Austin, the Florida Museum’s first curator of ornithology, and illustrated by world-renowned artist Arthur Singer, the free exhibit showcases the process of creating one of the most comprehensive books on birds and illustrates how the printing process affects highly detailed artwork. The exhibit also highlights the personal and professional relationship the two developed while creating the book.

In the exhibit, visitors may view letters to and from Singer and Austin, Singer’s original page-layout sketches for “Birds of the World,” first printed in 1961, replicas of the tools used to create the book’s life-like illustrations, and comparisons of Singer’s original artwork with the printed pages.

The exhibit also features a copy of “Birds of the World,” which is illustrated with 300 color paintings.

“I hope visitors gain an appreciation for the work required to create a book like this and the difficulty of putting it together,” said Tina Choe, Florida Museum exhibit developer.

Prior to his 16 years at the Florida Museum, which began in 1957, Austin studied at Wesleyan University and earned a Ph.D. in zoology from Harvard University in 1931. He and his father founded the Austin Ornithological Research Station in 1921 in Wellfleet, Mass.

Singer worked as an illustrator on many publications including Sports Illustrated and World Book Encyclopedia before collaborating with Austin on “Birds of the World.”

The Museum will display the exhibit through spring 2012.

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Source: Tina Choe, 352-273-2079,
Writer: Leeann Bright
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,