by Joe Batts

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture has opened two new exhibitions with avian themes.

The first, “Avis marvelous: Ornithology in 19th Century Art and Science” opened Friday, September 24, and runs through January 8, 2022, in the Paxson Gallery of UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center. This exhibit combines 19th century bird-themed prints from MMAC’s Lee Silliman Collection with specimens from the UM Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum to show the ways artists and scientists analyzed, documented, and celebrated avian life in the 19th century, and includes displays designed to educate and enlighten the public about bird life in the Americas.

The second, “The Speyer Collection of Contemporary Art,” opened October 15 and runs until January 8, 2022, in the MMAC’s Meloy Gallery in the PARTV Center. It presents selections from Helena high school teacher Tim Speyer’s art collection that focus on human interactions with birds as portrayed in surreal, enigmatic, and poetic art works by contemporary artists from around the world.

Both exhibits are free and open to the public. Tours for 10 or more people can be arranged. For more information go to

Board Member Joe Batts reports that he and Lana saw both exhibits and thought they were “superb”. “If anyone is even close to Missoula they should see both exhibits. We found ourselves stunned by the uniqueness and creativity of every piece.”