Thursday, April 18, 2024

Artisans converge in Chelan to create magical museum environment

Talented taxidermists and muralists wave their wands at Nature’s Window


CHELAN - What could be more challenging than collecting hunter’s taxidermy and presenting them in action-packed dioramas that tell a story of dramatic compassion and conservation?

“The mission of Nature’s Window museum, also known as Lake Chelan Museum of Wildlife, Natural History & Art, is entrusted to increase knowledge and appreciation of the diverse wildlife of the world,” local businessman Shannon Kollmeyer said. “In addition, we want to educate the public about the role art and wildlife management play in conserving these valuable resources.”

To achieve this lofty goal, museum founders Kollmeyer and his wife, Cris, searched for the best talents in the country to create their new exhibits in Chelan. For taxidermy, museum design and building layout, the Kollmeyers tapped renowned exhibit designer Stuart Farnsworth, of Monarch Taxidermy of Helena, Montana. He and his team’s creative work is exhibited world-wide and he has an avid following with sports hunters across the United States and Canada.

In order to develop colorful dioramas that exude the proper animal habitat that is both informative and entertaining in a museum setting, artists Rich Marks and Becca Allen were chosen to create vivid murals evoking landscapes from Alaska to Africa.

The creative duo enjoys the challenge of making the museum’s murals and settings look seamlessly lifelike. “We strive to accurately portray the habitat, and sometimes the animals, paying close attention to the transition point where the mural meets the 3-D habitat,” Marks said. “We want our murals to be artistic, yet simultaneously realistic. Becca offers a similar style of painting, so we have a natural flow.”

Marks studied fine art at the Colorado Institute of Art and then desk-top publishing at the Denver Institute of Technology. “Both colleges were invaluable as now I can design all of my mockups on the computer using Photoshop — afterward, I use my fine-art skills to execute the designs on the wall,” Marks explained.                                      

“Using this strategy, Becca and I are able to resolve any (design) issues up front,” Marks said. “That allows us to paint with confidence. It’s this confidence that makes for a better painter,” Marks continued.

Becca Allen is an artist from North Carolina, although she earned a masters in Art Therapy at Florida State University before connecting with Marks. She began painting murals with her colleague in 2021 and they have since completed several large-scale scenic dioramas together.

“It’s really an honor to work and learn alongside Rich,” Allen said. “He has been a wonderful mentor to me and we make a really great team. Part of my job is to match his style and create a seamless painting as if one artist completed it all. It has been gratifying to achieve that goal as well as to bring Shannon and Cris Kollmeyer’s vision to life.”

“Sometimes even I cannot believe what we are achieving. It really is amazing to see (the museum) come together,” Allen exclaimed.

Shannon and Cris Kollmeyer are pleased with the way their wildlife and natural history museum is taking shape. “Our guiding savant is definitely Stuart Farnsworth. He has taken our collection of animals from around the world and has created the most amazing settings,” Shannon observed. “He and his world-class team from Montana have managed to blend reality and story-telling into a narrative that is clear and concise. Viewers can learn about conservation, wildlife management and the role hunters play in preserving wild places and wild animals for future generations,” he added.

Nature’s Window museum is slated to open in October 2023.

About Nature’s Window:

Lake Chelan Museum of Wildlife, Natural History & Art is located at 21285 Highway 97A, Chelan, WA 98816. This is 3 miles north of the Knapp’s Hill Tunnel, and approximately 10 minutes south of Chelan and 45 minutes north from Wenatchee.

Contact: Telephone: 509-670-8081, email:, or the museum website at: Non-Profit Status: Nature’s Window Lake Chelan Museum of Wildlife, Natural History, and Art is a registered 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of wildlife. Donors can deduct contributions to the museum under IRC Section 170.

For more information: Terry LaBrue,, 425-765-1776




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