Seasonal history, science and art exhibits on display in Central Oregon


The Beauty of the Wild: Charcoal Drawings by April Coppini

Through June 23
Free with admission to museum

April Coppini is renowned for her ability to breathe life into depictions of the Pacific Northwest’s wild inhabitants, capturing them in a way that’s both arresting and authentic to the moment. Working from photographs, Coppini draws the immediacy of something about to happen and animal behavior that is true to life.


Coppini created these drawings specifically for The Beauty of Wild Things. She moved to Oregon in 1995 after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University School of Art and Design in New York state, where she focused on printmaking and drawing. She has exhibited her work at galleries regionally as well as in Ireland and New Zealand.


Visitors to The Beauty of Wild Things will learn about the art, and they will also be exposed to the ecological importance of the animals depicted and their habitat.


“For the Museum, sharing the context of both science and art provides a deeper understanding of the High Desert,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “April Coppini’s work provides a thrilling glimpse into the natural world that we’re certain will appeal to visitors of all ages.”


Visitors will be able to see The Beauty of Wild Things: Charcoal Drawings by April Coppini through June 23. The exhibition is on display with support from Century Insurance Group, Inc. and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Animal Journeys: Navigating in Nature
Through July 14
Free with admission to museum

The navigational feats performed by wildlife—whether as part of their daily, local activities or long-distance migrations—are arguably some of the natural world’s most awe-inspiring phenomena. The tiny rufous hummingbird, for example, deftly finds its way from wintering grounds in Mexico and the southern United States to its breeding grounds in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.


This new, interactive exhibition explores how such remarkable journeys are possible. Unlike us, other animals don’t have the benefit of maps and compasses, or do they? While many mysteries remain, scientists are steadily uncovering the secrets of navigation. Their findings suggest that different species are equipped with internal compass senses, intricate mental maps and other adaptations that enable them to stay on track. These mechanisms tell birds, mammals, fish and insects where they are and in which direction they are heading, even as they navigate the most testing terrains or places they have never seen before.


Human actions create some further challenges for animal navigators. For example, lights can obscure the night sky and completely disorient birds and other species. Thankfully, as we learn more about how animals navigate and how we are impacting their behavior, we also become better equipped to take effective conservation actions. This knowledge helps us to understand our own species, too, and how we might navigate using nature’s clues. Come and find out how in “Animal Journeys: Navigating in Nature.”

Desert Reflections: Water Shapes the West
Through September 29
Free with admission to museum

Desert Reflections: Water Shapes the West weaves together science, history, art and contemporary issues to explore the role of water in the region’s past, present and future.


The exhibit connects visitors to water and its management through the lens of three different basins in the region — the Mid-Columbia River Basin, Great Salt Lake Basin and Klamath Basin. It will illuminate how water has shaped the High Desert’s natural, cultural and geological history. It also explores how it features prominently in contemporary issues such as resource consumption, Indigenous sovereignty and climate change.


In addition to the discussion of the complexities of water management, Desert Reflections will connect visitors to its significance through visual art, music and spoken word performances. The High Desert Museum commissioned artwork from four Pacific Northwest artists for the exhibition. The project involved a field trip into the desert with experts in order to spark discussion and inspiration for the pieces.


Presentations from multiple artists will create an immersive experience. For example, Klamath Modoc visual artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, who looks at art as a means of activism, will present paintings created using traditional Indigenous art practices. Her artwork is in response to the proposed oil pipeline through the Klamath Basin. Harmonic Laboratory, a mixed-media art collective from Eugene, will weave together video, dance and choreography to explore the rhythms of water. And Dana Reason, composer and sonic arts teacher at Oregon State University, will create a site-specific, large-scale interactive sound and performance work. It will utilize research data on water tables in Oregon.


Cruisin’ 97: Tourism and Travel in Central Oregon, 1930-60
Through the summer
Free with admission to museum

While tourism is often talked about, it is usually with regards to contemporary struggles and not in a historical context. Tourism and travel has always been with us, from the Bend Water Pageant to today’s events.


The exhibit centers around the publication of the first comprehensive travel guide to the state, published in 1940, and offering tour suggestions as you work your way down what was then known as The Dalles California Highway. Visitors can rediscover a time when neon signs, drive-ins, and roadside attractions greeted visitors as they wound their way from Smith Rock State Park through downtown Redmond and Bend and past Lava Butte.


This exhibit is funded by a grant from the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund and the Oregon Museum Grant awarded by the State Historic Preservation Office and Oregon Heritage.



Homestead Village Museum
Thursday – Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Located about 65 miles south of Bend, the Fort Rock Valley Historical Society’s Homestead Village Museum near Fort Rock State Park is a fantastic day trip. In 1988 the village opened, which preserves and protects homestead-era structures by moving them from their original locations to the museum site just west of the town of Fort Rock. Currently there are 10 historic buildings on the site, including the Sunset School, the St. Roses Catholic Church, the Fort Rock General Store, and multiple pioneer homes.


Volunteers from the community, Lake County Road Department and Midstate Electric Co-operative move the buildings, then local society members restore them, including authentic period furnishing.