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New naturalist exhibit set to start Saturday

In addition to historic Hickory Hill' s every day elegance, the Southern mansion will showcase 21 pieces of art titled "Southern Naturalist: Audubon in Context." Beginning this Saturday, Sept. 19, and running through Monday, Dec. 14, the exhibit features works of Andre Michaux from France, John Abbott from England, William Bartram of Pennsylvania and John James Audubon of Saint Domingue.

"Audubon is always special. You can't go wrong when you're talking about beautiful pictures of bird and flowers," said Hickory Hill curator Michelle Zupan. "So, we'll have a lot of things that'll interest people who love the outdoors and people who like pretty art."

Visitors to the exhibit also will have a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to see a rare folio by Mark Catesby, Ms. Zupan said. Only a few hundred of the books were produced in the 1700s, and each one was colored by hand.

"There's only a few of these left in the entire world and we'll have one on exhibit. So, we're pretty excited because that's really special," she said.

Created by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, the exhibit originally was intended to stay in South Carolina. When Ms. Zupan saw it, she knew it would tie in with Thomas Watson's Hickory Hill because "these are all men that Tom Watson was familiar with. And he was a naturalist himself."

The exhibit opens Saturday with a special opening reception from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free that day. After that, interested visitors are encouraged to call Hickory Hill at (706) 595-7777 to schedule a tour so as not to conflict with the many school field trips already scheduled to visit the exhibit.

Drop-in tours typically will run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturdays. Admission is $3 for adults. Hickory Hill is located at 502 Hickory Hill Drive, Thomson.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, Dr. Rudy Mancke will be presenting "Conversation in the Gardens" in the Monroe Kimbrel Gardens at the Watson-Brown Foundation at 2 p.m.

"He is with the University of South Carolina and he is the modern version of these naturalists," Ms. Zupan said. "He's considered an expert on Southern plants and Southern environment, and he's just a wonderful speaker."

Admission to the presentation and subsequent tour of the exhibit is free.

The Monroe Kimbrel Gardens/Watson Brown Foundation is located at 310 Tom Watson Way in Thomson. For more information, call (706) 595-7777.


What: Southern Naturalists: Audubon in Context art exhibit

Where: Hickory Hill, 502 Hickory Hill Drive, Thomson

When: Saturday, Sept. 19 -- Monday, Dec. 14

Cost: free from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, after that, pre-scheduled tours are $3.

For more info: call (706) 595-7777

Web posted on Thursday, September 17, 2009

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