Grant White welcomed visitors to the Open House of his Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum in Slatington. He was opening the door to his own home, his own collections and his own philosophy of the world.
He calls it a "poor man's gallery" and wants to make it accessible for children from schools, daycares, Boy and Girl Scouts and for anyone who enjoys nature.
He has been called a "visionary" and a "conservationist."
His love of the natural world began as far back as kindergarten, growing up in Shillington, near Reading. He graduated from Shillington High School in 1945, served in the United States Navy for two years, and then graduated from Penn State University in 1950 with a degree in landscape architecture.
It was about that time he got involved in the Green Movement where emphasis is placed on the values of Indigenous People, such as the Native Americans, a theme seen throughout the Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum. White became very attuned to ecology, conservation, wildlife, the natural world and concerns for the environment, knowing that all things are interconnected.
When this world traveler talks about his collections, he says "Everyone has a liking for things. I tried to gear mine to the movement of the environment. It's a very eclectic collection."
The collections fill his home and a separate gallery, just steps from the main house. On the short walk to the gallery are stunning sculptures and artwork, all related to nature. One such piece is made by local artist Charlie Appelgate called "The Provider," a 150-pound steel eagle with 2,000 hand cut steel feathers.
Why the name "Grouse Hollow" for his museum?
"What is Pennsylvania's state game bird? The ruffed grouse. Once there were grouse all throughout this area. It was a hunting area for the rich and they were overhunted. The fields they lived in were burned off for agriculture. Their numbers have greatly decreased. It all comes down to controlling the habitat for our wildlife," says White.
Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum has distinct themes seen throughout: Native Americans; birds and fowl; crystals and minerals; African art; wildlife; the Wild West. The underlying message in all areas is the danger of extinction, and the interrelationship nature has with all things.
Benches, chairs and seating are in all the display areas, providing a place to sit and contemplate all that surrounds the visitor.
Carol Jones of Slatington said of the open house "Gorgeous. Breath-taking. It is so remarkable that someone can have all this."
"Every time I come here, I see something I haven't seen before," said Ed Nestor of Slatington.
White wonders what the world of education could be thinking of when they take art out of the schools.
"What about the whole child? Children today are being geared up for a materialistic world. What about the things that appeal for the sake of pleasure?"
He believes that art communicates form and beauty and expresses human and natural experiences. All of which should be available to children, in the making of a "whole child."
That is one of the reasons why White wants to open his Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum to the public, especially to the children.
Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum's mission statement is: "Giving vision to enlighten, educate and awe through a broad collection of art and treasures from around the world."
If you or your group would like to visit Grouse Hollow Wildlife Art Museum, please call to make an appointment. You can call Laurie Dart-Schnaufer at (610) 730-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.