New Mexico History Museum

Catch the closing lectures of

April 27, 2011


Wild at Heart: Ernest Thompson Seton, closes May 8. Take one last look and take in the two final lectures.

6 pm, Friday, April 29: “Growing Up with Uncle Ernest’s Wildlife Stories.” Noted author and environmentalist William deBuys explores his childhood influences by Seton, whose works included the children’s classic, Wild Animals I Have Known. DeBuys is author of six books, including Enchantment and Exploitation, Salt Dreams, and River of Traps (a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize). He received a 2008-09 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2008 Pushcart Prize. His current book-length project is A Great Aridness: Climate Change in the North American Southwest (Oxford University Press, October 2011).

2 pm, Sunday, May 1: “Woodmyth & Fable – A Look Back at Seton.” Wild at Heart guest curator David L. Witt, builds the exhibit’s final lecture on Seton’s 1905 collection of short stories. A lifelong naturalist, Witt began studying Seton while a Boy Scout and wrote a biography that accompanied the exhibit, Ernest Thompson Seton, The Life and Legacy of an Artist and Conservationist (Gibbs Smith, 2010). He was formerly curator of the Harwood Foundation in Taos. Since 1981, he has led alpine wildflower hikes for the Nature Conservancy.

Download high-resolution images from the exhibition by clicking on "Go to related media," above, left.

Seton was hired in 1893 to kill wolves in northern New Mexico, an experience that produced a profound change in him. He wrote “The King of Currumpaw, A Wolf Story,” published to worldwide acclaim in Scribner's Magazine the following year. The most important and technically accomplished wildlife illustrator since Audubon, Seton’s concepts for bird identification influenced the field guides of Roger Tory Peterson and others. In all, Seton wrote some 40 books and more than 1,000 magazine articles and short stories, and drew or painted some 6,000 works of art. In 1902, Seton founded Woodcraft, an outdoor youth-education program that became a model for the Boy Scouts of America, which he helped start in 1910.

“Seton is a godfather to today's environmental movement, as important to the early development of wildlife conservation as John Muir is to wilderness preservation,” Witt said.

In 1930, Seton moved to a 2,500-acre ranch in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of Santa Fe, founding the Seton Village neighborhood, where he lived until his death in 1946. The Academy for the Love of Learning, a nonprofit educational organization, now owns the property.

Wild at Heart: Ernest Thompson Seton is presented with special support from the Academy for the Love of Learning. Other funding came from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs; National Park Service/Save Our Treasures Grant Program; Museum of New Mexico Foundation; New Mexico History Museum Opening Gala Committee; Phyllis and Edward Gladden Endowment Fund; Herzstein Family Endowment Fund; and the Palace Guard.

Related Photos

Wolf Release
Badlands Billy
Ernest Thompson Seton, 1901
Ernest Thompson Seton, 1890
Illustration featuring Seton characters
Last of the Race
Lobo and Blanca
Away Went the Mustang
Seton Castle
The Sleeping Wolf
Taxidermy, Great Blue Heron
The Rooky Woods
The Pursuit
Untitled forest scene
White-Winged Crossbills
The Aspen Grove
Entrance to "Wild at Heart"
Handcrafted Furniture
Black Wolf of the Currumpaw
Boys camp at Wyndygoul
David L. Witt
Ernest Thompson Seton
Rose branch
Salmon matching
Seton with Three Indians
Carpodacus pinicola
Wild Animals I Have Known

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