Staten Island Museum has ties to famed wildlife painter, Charles R. Knight

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  -- When the Staten Island Museum opens its new home at Snug Harbor Cultural Center next year, visitors might get to see some rare drawings by celebrated wildlife artist Charles R. Knight (1874-1953).

Knight’s paintings were enjoyed and studied by millions: His murals of prehistoric life — dinosaurs and mammoths, Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons — still thrill visitors to the Field Museum in Chicago and the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.

The Brooklyn-born artist was renowned for his ability to extrapolate a whole specimen from a single fossil. As his contemporaries described it, his facility came from experience, knowledge of animal anatomy and imagination.

In his day, the artist had no direct tie with the Staten Island Museum. But a connection developed recently when his granddaughter and heir Rhoda Knight Kalt became acquainted with the place and with its director of development Cheryl Adolph.

Kalt was impressed with the breadth of the museum’s collections — which encompass the natural sciences, fine arts and cultural artifacts.

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