Public Exhibit Pays Homage to Burt’s Low-key Life and Love of Nature
By Christina Cassera and Jackie Sands, Burt’s Bees
On January 19, 2017, Burt’s Bees unveiled the iconic cabin of late co-founder Burt Shavitz, commemorating the photojournalist-turned-beekeepers’ quiet, uncomplicated life in nature. The maker of natural personal care products for over 30 years has relocated Burt’s rustic cabin from rural Maine to the company’s headquarters on the American Tobacco Campus (ATC) in Durham, North Carolina.
The cabin, which has been restored to its original condition, will display Burt’s personal artifacts and provide a window into his daily life. The exhibit will be open to public viewing with periodic tours of the cabin’s interior.
The roughly 300-square-foot converted turkey coop originally renovated by Burt had no electricity or running water and genuinely reflected his ethos that “the old ways are the best ways” and “land is everything.” As an exhibit, visitors can learn about Burt’s story — as a photojournalist, beekeeper and co-founder of Burt’s Bees — and Burt’s nature, the original Maine wilderness where the cabin stood. This tribute will employ a high-tech touch to bring Burt’s low-tech life into bloom. Burt’s Bees collaborated with Google to create a digital footage viewfinder in a vintage casing that enables visitors standing on the cabin’s front porch to be immersed in the sights and sounds of the beautiful Maine countryside that the humble man woke up to every day. Beginning in January, virtual visitors to BurtsBees.com will experience a 360° tour inside Burt’s house and learn about his life and legacy.
“Burt was a living embodiment of our purpose to connect people to the wisdom, power and beauty of nature,” says Jim Geikie, General Manger, Burt’s Bees. “A year after his passing, Burt’s life is a potent reminder for all of us that we can’t lose sight of our relationship with nature.”
This exhibit joins the Observation Hive and Matthew Willey’s Good of the Hive Mural, both located at the brand’s headquarters in memory of Burt Shavitz. In 2014, Burt’s Bees installed the observation hive to help educate the over 1.5 million annual ATC visitors on bees and their importance to human and environmental health. At its seasonal peak, the observation hive serves as a home to over 15,000 bees and is the largest of its kind in North Carolina. In the spring of 2016, Burt’s Bees partnered with artist Matthew Willey to celebrate Shavitz’s life by creating a mural in his name. The design – a part of Willey’s “The Good of the Hive” initiative – showcases the concept of the “Swarm,” to reflect how Shavitz himself stumbled upon his first hive, as well as to signal new beginnings as the company carries his legacy forward.
Geikie adds, “Burt used to say ‘I wake up when the sun comes in my window and go to bed when it’s too dark to read.’ Each day we come to work, we’ll be able to fondly remember the man who didn’t use an alarm clock and applaud his way of life as a beacon of inspiration in our hurried times.”
The exhibit will first be open for free public tours in January. All visitors will receive a complimentary Beeswax Lip Balm, the first personal care product created by Burt’s Bees’ founders in 1991, and a Res-Q Ointment, Burt’s personal favorite product.
To learn more about Burt, visit www.burtsbees.com/OurNature. Burt’s Bees® has been offering distinctive earth-friendly, natural health and beauty care products for 30 years. From a beekeeper’s backyard in Maine to the leading edge of natural, Burt’s Bees knows natural body care solutions from head-to-toe and operates with The Greater Good™ top of mind. No parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS and no animal testing. Find out more at www.burtsbees.com.
American Tobacco offers 1.2 million square feet of Class A office space in a historic factory setting bustling with restaurants and businesses as well as the Durham Performing Arts Center and Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Featured in US News & World Report as the national model for urban revitalization, the campus serves as a bridge from Durham’s past as one of the Tobacco capitals of the world to its present and future as a knowledge, science and medical capital.