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Roger Tory Peterson

Born and raised in Jamestown, New York, Roger Tory Peterson became the premier artist-naturalist of his time. He is best known for his pioneering field guides. The first – A Field Guide to the Birds, published in 1934 – sparked a worldwide movement to connect people with nature as never before. Peterson authored and illustrated dozens of guides – for birds, plants, insects and other natural flora and fauna – selling millions of copies and becoming an international ambassador for protecting our natural resources.

The Institute

In 1984, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History was founded in Peterson’s hometown of Jamestown, New York to preserve his lifetime body of work. A decade later, the Institute cut the ribbon on its new home – a 23,000 square foot architectural gem, designed by Robert A.M. Stern. The building – nestled within 28 acres of wooded land that inspired the young Peterson to fall in love with the natural world – houses the largest, most comprehensive collection of Peterson’s artwork, photographs, films, manuscripts and related archival materials.

Reflections From Our CEO

Sanctuary. That’s a word we’ve heard a lot since we reopened the museum last month. Sanctuary is a place where you feel safe. You feel rejuvenated. Inspired. Our 27-acre nature preserve is a forested refuge filled with birdsong. Our museum is a rustic temple made of wood and stone. As soon as you step inside, the vaulted ceiling lifts the spirit and fills you with awe and wonder [more].