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A Life in the Wild exhibit comes to the River Museum

Forty classic photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen, photographs which the renowned photographer himself refers to as his legacy photographs, have been personally selected for a retrospective traveling museum exhibition that launched in 2018 and is touring nationwide. The exhibition titled Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life in The Wild is scheduled for display at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium from February 5, 2022, through February 1, 2023.  

Photographs included in the retrospective include “Polar Dance” from 1989, which features two polar bears appearing to dance; “Mountain Outlaw” from 2014 portraying a grizzly bear charging head on through the snow; and from 1988, “Catch of the Day,” which captures the exact moment that a spawning salmon, trying to leap over a waterfall along Alaska’s Brooks River, soars right into the waiting jaws of a massive brown bear.

Exhibition subjects include the American bison, Arctic fox, bald eagle, Bengal tiger, black bear, bobcat, bohemian & cedar waxwings, brown bear, coyote, elephant, flowers including poppies and lupine, giraffe, great gray owl, grizzly bear, ground squirrel, kestrel, king penguin, landscapes such as Alaska's Denali range and the Great Smoky Mountains, leopard, lilac breasted roller, moose, mountain lion, polar bear, Sandhill crane, silverback mountain gorilla, groves of trees including redwood and aspen, western tanager, and zebra. 

One of the most prolific nature photographers of our time, Thomas Mangelsen has been described as a spiritual descendant of pioneering American nature photographers Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Edward Weston. Bill Allen, the now retired Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic, considers Mangelsen to be one of the most important nature photographers of his generation. In addition, he is as much a conservationist as he is an artist.

Mangelsen was named the 2011 Conservation Photographer of the Year by Nature's Best Photography, placing his work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian's National

Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He was named one of the 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers by Outdoor Photography, and one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photo magazine. The North American Nature Photography Association has named him Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year; while the British Broadcasting Corporation gave him its prestigious award, Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Mangelsen has traveled to the wildest corners of North America, Africa, and beyond, for more than 40 years and produced a body of work second to none.

The Thomas D. Mangelsen - A Life in The Wild Tour is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C. ( in partnership with Thomas D. Mangelsen, Inc. (

For more information on the exhibit at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, visit