You don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate tradition and fine dogs. But if you are, you’ll enjoy a trip to the National Bird Dog Museum even more. The museum preserves more than 100 years of sporting tradition through a wonderful collection of art, photography, and memorabilia covering a variety of pointing dog and retriever breeds, hunting, field trial activities, and shooting sports. Here you will find portraits and exhibits on some of history’s most famous bird dogs. The artwork and sculptures on display include some of the finest work by outdoor artists to be found anywhere.
Located in Grand Junction, Tennessee, about 60 miles from Memphis, the museum is made up of four main buildings joined by a central atrium. Here, galleries devoted to the different breeds of bird dogs chronicle the history of the shooting sports and the working relationship between man and dog.
Western Tennessee has a rich bird dog heritage. It is the birthplace of America’s pointing dog field trials, and the home of the National Field Trial Championship. The first public field trials were held near Memphis in 1874. Starting in 1881, fields trials were held in Grand Junction, a tradition that continues today.
Wandering through the museum’s galleries, along with beautiful artwork you will find examples of classic sporting firearms, displays of outdoor equipment, and tributes to the greatest names in bird dogs and their breeders.
In the museum’s Wildlife Heritage Center, you will see over 200 mounted species of game animals, from birds to elk.
The museum’s library has an excellent collection of books and magazines relating to the shooting sports and is an excellent resource for research. The library offers information about breeding, training and sporting dog competitions. Included in the library’s collection are rare vintage books on the history of sporting dog competitions. The library’s Children’s Corner provides a place to read about the challenges and disciplines required to train a good sporting dog.
Education is an important part of the National Bird Dog Museum’s purpose, and the museum hosts many school field trips during the year. Students can participate in an annual essay contest and a sporting dog art contest, in which winners receive scholarships to help them continue their educations.
No matter what breed of hunting dog you prefer, from spaniels to setters, pointers to retrievers, you will find them all at the National Bird Dog Museum. It is an interesting place to spend an afternoon browsing the many galleries, admiring the artwork on display, and learning about the many fine animals who have won fame and respect in woods and field.
The National Bird Dog Museum is located at 505 State Highway 57 in Grand Junction and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, though donations are welcomed. The Museum also has a nice gift shop with souvenirs, books, and DVDs. The building is handicapped accessible. Parking is limited and only a small Class C would be able to access the museum’s parking lot. For more information on the National Bird Dog Museum, call (731) 764-2058.