The McClung Museum will host a family day for its 'Birds in Art' exhibit Saturday, June 22.

The exhibit, on loan from the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin, will run throughout the summer. The family event, while open to the public, is part of the museum's continued effort to reach out to an even broader audience.

Saturday is part of the series of hosting a family-friendly event for each new traveling exhibit. This time, the museum is focusing on giving the children who come to visit a real educational experience, in the form of guides to East Tennessee birds, and the opportunity to construct a birdfeeder.

Abby Naunheimer, the museum's new family programming coordinator, has high hopes that the event will lead to a new appreciation for birds and how they are depicted, as well as just more "awareness in the artwork."

"Just to give people an idea of how birds are portrayed in the artwork, and also how birds are shown in nature, just to see any similarities and differences," she said on the motivation behind the exhibit.

'Birds in Art' features many species of birds in different settings. Each year a variety of artists send in their work to Leigh Yawkey Museum and a committee parses through the entries to select the best works. This summer, 'Birds in Art' was chosen thanks to a history of great success.

According to Naunheimer, the museum tries to maintain and bring in exhibits that appeal to several demographics. Although located on a college campus, the curators strive to bring in diversity, trying to pick something that might appeal to all ages without focusing on one group. She said the goal is to pick an exhibit generally interesting to the community, not just female college students focusing in one group.

The McClung Museum, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, is also looking at ways to expand its reach and bring in more crowds. New assistant curator Catherine Shteynberg said the museum is expanding its efforts to make the public, and especially students, more aware of the opportunities the museum has to offer, whether it is the chances for learning, the traveling lectures or even just the ample study space.

Naunheimer even runs a monthly stroller tour for infants and their parents as a fun outing for young children and their parents.

"It's a place to get inspired, a place to relax, a place to be social," Shteynberg said.
In addition, the public is also always welcome to give its input as to what they would like to see in the museum. Shteynberg said she wants people to know they are welcome to contact her for any suggestions they might have.

The museum is especially looking to expand its reach with college students. McClung administrators have worked to establish a social media presence with new Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as providing needed snacks for students during finals week.

Upcoming events include visits from the National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier and Egyptologist Salima Ikram.

"Let us know what types of programming you are interested in seeing as students, we welcome feedback," Shytenberg said. "We are in the process of rethinking what types of programming we might have in our future, and so if anyone would like to email me personally, they are more than welcome to."

Shteynberg can be reached at cshteynb@utk.edu.