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John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove

1201 Pawlings Road
Audubon, PA 19403

610-666-5593

Mill Grove is the first home of John James Audubon in America and the only true Audubon home still standing in this country. The lovely estate, located in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was owned for 17 years by Audubon's father, Jean, a French sea captain. In 1803, Captain Audubon sent his youthful son John James to Mill Grove to supervise the estate that included a working lead mine.

The home, now a museum, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains the complete editions of every major work published by Audubon including the extraordinary and world famous Birds of America, printed and hand colored from copper plate engravings produced in London between 1827 and 1839.

John James Audubon, eighteen years old at the time of his arrival, spent a majority of his time roaming the wooded hills along the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River hunting, observing, collecting and sketching. It was during this period that he experienced early stirrings of a fascination for wildlife that was to become his all-absorbing life interest. Inspired and captivated by his new surroundings, Audubon became a pioneer in portraying birds and other wildlife in natural settings. During his time at Mill Grove he built a substantial base of interest in ornithological art, and his experimentation resulted in rapid development of his skill as an artist.

While at Mill Grove he made many drawings and performed the first recorded experiment of bird banding in America. Also, he developed his “wire armature,” a device that gave life to his freshly shot specimens and his drawings of the birds. This unique method of holding his specimens put him years ahead of his contemporaries. Many believe that in spite of the advantages of photography and state-of-the-art technology, no modern bird painter has equaled his achievements.

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