Gateway Science Museum

Wildflowers, Watercolor & Wonder: The Edward Stuhl Collection

Wildflowers, Watercolor & Wonder: The Edward Stuhl Collection is an exhibit in collaboration with CSU Chico's Meriam Library Special Collections. Due to the COVID-19 closure, the exhibit is stored for safe-keeping until we reopen. We invite you to explore our virtual exhibit of this beautiful collection.

Edward Stuhl (1887 - 1984) was a Hungarian born hiker and painter who settled in the Mount Shasta region as the custodian of the Sierra Club's Alpine Lodge in the early 20th century after traveling throughout Germany, eastern Europe, and Mexico. Living and working near Mt. Shasta for 30 years, Stuhl became an expert on the natural history of the region and spent much of his life hiking and camping on the mountain and throughout northern California. He carried with him a pack full of paintbrushes and canvases, documenting the flora he encountered through watercolor paintings that are still used by naturalists as visual guides to northern California wildflowers.

In 1985, Stuhl's paintings, journals, and photographs were donated to California State University, Chico's Meriam Library Special Collections. This exhibit highlights a selection of Stuhl's works that capture species local to the landscapes of the Chico, California region and surrounding communities.

Explore the slideshow of paintings and see if you recognize any of the plants from your own neighborhood or hikes in our area!

More resources to explore:

Documenting our natural history is an important part of studying and preserving species diversity. Botanical illustrators like Stuhl help to create field guides and keys that aid in plant identification. Botanists also collect plant specimens that are pressed and preserved on sheets of paper to be stored in plant libraries called herbaria. Scientists and naturalists use these resources to find new plant species and learn more about their region’s environment. Use the links below to learn more about botanical illustration, plant collection, and spe cimen preservation!

  • Edward Stuhl Collection(opens in new window): view the entire digitized collection of over 300 of Edward Stuhl’s watercolors, housed by Special Collections of CSU Chico’s Meriam Library. Do you recognize any of the plants Stuhl painted on his travels throughout California?
  • Botanical Illustation(opens in new window):  Learn to draw plants in your own backyard or neighborhood, or try recreating Stuhl’s work using another another medium like crayons, colored pencils, or even clay to make your own 3-D version!
  • Pressing Plants at Home (PDF):  This guide will teach you how to preserve plants and their flowers! A properly stored plant specimen, like those found in herbaria, can last for hundreds of years and provide  valuable scientific information. What plants can you find in your yard to press?

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