“Thanks to Exhibit Concepts we have this really, colorful, beautiful space where we’re providing a lot of information about the animals, about their ecosystems, and it’s presented in a way that’s really catching to the eye.”—Staley Heatly, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Redesign Committee for the Red River Valley Museum
Some subjects can be particularly difficult to work with when social norms have changed or when people do not take the time to understand the story behind the story. Thus was the case when Exhibit Concepts was asked to work with the Red River Valley Museum on our third project together, this time on the William A. Bond Trophy and Game Gallery. While some might view this subject matter as controversial, this gallery serves as a monument to a man who was a conservationist at heart and as a place for school children to learn about many species of animals up close and personal.
Bill Bond exemplified the spirit of the American West in a time when the world was larger, and adventure and discovery still seemed possible. Bill served in the Army during World War II and after settling in Vernon, TX found his life’s passion in travel, nature, and big game hunting. For 20+ years after the war, Bill traveled the world as a hunter and conservationist. His hunting took place on reserves targeting sick and infirm animals to improve the ecosystem and where he would continue to fund these preserves long after his trips.
The Red River Valley Museum had received Bill’s trophy collection and wealth of photographs, slides and had a vision to display the animals in a gallery. The Exhibit Concepts team expanded that vision with a focus on natural history and presenting the animals in a way to teach school children and other visitors about different species, natural habitats and the importance of conservation. “I’ve told a thousand people, you cannot imagine what it’s like to watch this team [from Exhibit Concepts] come in, they take our ideas and our vision and they bring it to life, but not only do they bring it to life, they make it more amazing than I could have ever imagined,” said Sherillyn Yoakum, Executive Director Red River Valley Museum.
Exhibit Concepts designed, built, project managed and installed this museum gallery to help ensure that everyone, especially students, has the ability to learn and experience different parts of the world in regards to nature and big game. “One of the great things about working with Exhibit Concepts is that they provide all of the services that we need to get a project like this done,” said Staley Heatly. Bill Bond’s efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to preserve these trophies continues to provide education and wonder to those who visit the museum.
The people who work at this museum, our partners, beam with pride as they see their community fill the museum halls. It’s contagious to be in their presence as they explain the life and learnings which Mr. Bond has allowed them to tell and share. And whether the museum meshes with your political views or morals, one thing undisputed is that veteran William A. Bond was honorable and full of passion.