Rudolph M. Schiele

Date of Birth: April 2, 1893
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 1974
Place of Death: Gastonia, North Carolina

Rudolph Melchoir Schiele, known as “Bud” to his friends was born in Philadelphia on April 2, 1893. As a young boy, he developed a special interest in nature and became an apprentice curator at the Philadelphia Commercial Museum. (In 1966 it became known as the Philadelphia Civic Center, which later closed in 1994.)  Bud served as a Second Lieutenant in the 87th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, after which, he became a Scout Executive in the Boy Scouts of America organization. It was during these early years that he married Lily Hobbs and they moved to Gaston County. North Carolina, in 1924.

While in the Piedmont Scout Council, he built the Schiele Scout reservation at Tryon.  A home for thousands of scouts in the summertime, it later closed in 1981. He left scouting when he reached the mandatory age limit and became a ranger-naturalist for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Before he left Gastonia, he set in motion, with the help of community leaders, to provide a place for his entire collection of animals, minerals, and photographs. Upon his return, a place was indeed in the works and the museum was dedicated in 1961. In 1965 the museum’s name was changed to The Schiele Museum of Natural History to honor him as the founder and benefactor.  Today it is called The Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium.

Bud continued to be active in the Museum affairs until he died in 1974. He was known at a naturalist, historian and community servant and his legacy lives on today in the exhibits and spirit of education and conservation.