Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Q. J. Stephenson

Also Known as: Quinton Judson Stephenson

Born:
Garysburg, North Carolina 1920

Died:
Garysburg, North Carolina 1997

Biography

Q. J. Stephenson is a trapper, explorer, naturalist, and fossil hunter in northeastern North Carolina. Concerned that younger generations were not learning traditional trapping methods, he began constructing his roadside "Trapper's Lodge Museum" during the early 1950s. The building is covered inside and out with concrete animals, imaginary beasts, slogans, and patterns modeled in low relief and inset with petrified wood, fossils, shells, stones, and other found objects. Each object and imprint in the walls and floors is carefully identified and labeled.

While trapping, Stephenson has discovered many fossils in the swamps near his house, sparking his great interest in the prehistoric world. He began to make his "Prehistoric Art" in the late 1970s, relying on his imagination to create terrifying and often amusing creatures to populate his Trapper's Museum. Totems are set into the concrete floor and encrusted exterior of the museum and resemble stalagmites in ancient caves.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)