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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROGER TORY PETERSON Weekend Festival of Food, Fun and Hidden Treasures from the Peterson Collection

August 26, 2020 9:20 AM | Megan Eves (Administrator)


  • Jamestown, NY – August 19, 2020 – The Roger Tory Peterson Institute announces a weekend celebration of Peterson’s 112th birthday.

    RTPI is launching a new tradition – a full weekend of fun to celebrate the birthday of Roger Tory Peterson. Native Son. Father of the Modern Field Guide. Artist, bird lover and international ambassador for nature – all rolled into one.

    Officially, Roger’s birthday is Friday, August 28. RTPI’s party will kick off on Saturday morning, August 29 at 9 am, with Yoga with the Birds. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert at the crane pose, yoga led by Kara Bemis outdoors on RTPI’s back patio is the perfect way to start any weekend.

    Speaking of birds, at 10 am, Twan Leenders – RTPI’s Director of Science and Conservation – will host a bird banding demonstration in RTPI’s nature preserve. If you’ve never seen a live warbler or flicker up close, now’s your chance to be amazed and inspired.

    At 11 am, the outdoor party really gets rocking with live music on the back patio and great food outside our front door. What better singer-songwriter could RTPI choose than Rebecca McIlvain, whose debut album is entitled, “Cardinal Call.” What better way to spice up the day than with the Cajun cooking of Kev’s Kitchen food truck. And what better way to cool your tongue than with a taste of the grape from Bag & String or a cool brew from Big Inlet.

    Of course, it’s not a birthday party without cake – or, at least cupcakes, baked special for RTPI by Ecklof’s. RTPI will have enough single serving cupcakes on hand to mark Roger’s 112th birthday.

    For those who haven’t yet seen RTPI’s newest exhibition – Stefan Savides: Birds in Bronze – they’re in for a real treat. More than 30 exquisite bird sculptures grace the galleries alongside a curated selection of Roger’s original paintings. Special guided tours at 11am and 2pm.

    Also on display in the library – for one weekend only – will be hidden treasures from the Peterson Collection. RTPI harbors the largest collection of Roger’s artwork, films, slides and related materials. “There are so many intriguing items in the Peterson Collection,” says Jane Johnson, RTPI’s Director of Museum Operations. “I can’t wait to share some of my favorites – seldom if ever on display any other time of the year.”

    RTPI’s birthday gift to the community will be to offer a $2 discount on museum admission and a 20% discount on Peterson Guides purchased from our Snowy Owl Museum Store. The cupcakes, music, and wine and beer tasting are free to all museum visitors. Food may be purchased directly from vendor.

    In addition to the food and fun, everyone’s health and safety will be – as always – our number one concern. Guided by the CDC and other agencies, our plan calls for:

  • 1.     Most activities to be held outdoors to ensure plenty of room for social distancing,
  • 2.     Limiting the number of visitors for indoor programs to one-third our capacity, and
  • 3.     Requiring all indoor visitors to wear masks “right” and maintain "an eagle wingspan" apart.

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The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History was founded in Peterson’s hometown of Jamestown, New York to preserve his lifetime body of work. Peterson, the only artist-naturalist to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is best known for his field guides. The first – A Field Guide to the Birds – published in 1934, sparked a worldwide movement to connect people with nature as never before. Peterson authored and illustrated dozens of guides – for birds, plants, insects and other natural flora and fauna – selling millions of copies and becoming an international ambassador for protecting our natural resources.

Today, the Peterson Collection anchors a robust exhibition schedule that also features the artwork or some of the world’s most revered nature artists. The collection is available to artists, researchers and scholars, and is used to anchor an array of education and research programs – all geared toward inspiring appreciation and protection of our natural world.


The Museum Association of New York strengthens the capacity of New York State’s cultural community by supporting professional standards and organizational development. We provide advocacy, training, and networking opportunities so that museums and museum professionals may better serve their missions and communities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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