Woodlawn Chronicles

The Woodlawn Chronicles history blog from the curatorial staff at the Putnam

Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: Noon – 5 p.m.

Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: Noon – 5 p.m.

Curated by staff at the Putnam Museum and Science Center

Greater Kudu on exhibit at the Putnam Museum, in the Hall of Mammals

The Greater Kudu

Discover the Grey Ghost

The Greater Kudu, also known as the Grey Ghost due to its elusive nature, is a large antelope found in Eastern and Southern Africa. It is one of the tallest antelopes, standing up to 1.2 meters at the shoulder, and can weigh up to 315 kg. The males have impressive horns that can grow up to 1.8 meters in length, and are twisted in a corkscrew shape.

Greater Kudus are predominantly browsers, feeding on leaves, twigs, and fruits, but will also graze on grass during the wet season. They are known for their excellent eyesight and hearing, which make them difficult to spot in the wild. They are also excellent jumpers, capable of leaping over fences and obstacles up to 3 meters high.

Despite being hunted for their meat and horns, the Greater Kudu population remains stable in many areas due to conservation efforts. They are a popular species for wildlife viewing and attract many tourists to Africa.

See one right here at the Putnam Museum!

Mary Louisa Putnam in a historic black and white photo set against the Common Ground exhibit branding.

Mary Louisa Putnam

Nurturing A Love of Learning

Born in 1832, Mary Louisa Putnam moved to Davenport with her family in 1855. In 1863 they built their home in west Davenport and named it Woodlawn. Mary was a devoted mother who encouraged her children to get an education. Her son Duncan spent most of his time at home due to his poor health and developed an interest in entomology. He encouraged his family to join the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences.

In 1868, Mary Louisa became the first female member of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences and secured most of the donations for the academy’s building and worldwide publications. She became the first female president of the academy in 1879. After Duncan’s death in 1881, she dedicated the rest of her life to the academy in his memory.

In 1902, Mary Louisa Putnam was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After her death, she left money in trust to the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences, which in 1938 became the Davenport Public Museum.

Today, in honor of Mary and Duncan, this museum is now called the Putnam Museum and Science Center!

Learn more about Mary Louisa Putnam and other Quad City historical figures in our Common Ground Exhibit.

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