Online Murals Tour
February 23, 2011
The murals located in the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building represent a period in American history when art flourished under government sponsorship. Created during the Great Depression, the Department of the Interior’s murals are the product of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The artists who created the murals represent some of the finest American painters of the 1930s.
The Murals Tour is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. Tour groups are limited to 20 visitors and a reservation is required. For groups over six, custom tours can be scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Please call the Museum at least two weeks in advance of your visit at 202.208.4743 to make a reservation.
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An Incident in Contemporary American Life
Tempera on canvas, 1942
When prominent African-American vocalist Marian Anderson was banned from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall because of her race, Eleanor Roosevelt, a friend of Anderson’s, resigned from the DAR in protest and was determined to find an alternate venue for the concert.
Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes invited Anderson to hold a free concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 at the Lincoln Memorial. Anderson performed for seventy-five thousand people, including many political leaders.
Anderson, surrounded by tiny government officials, is just a small speck on the steps of the Memorial, a symbol of the abolishment of slavery. Jamieson concentrates on the diverse crowd and the emotions apparent on their faces to emphasize the importance of the concert.
Unlike most of the artists with works in the Interior Building, Mitchell Jamieson was selected out of 171 entries of a scored contest. Only 25 years old at the time, Jamieson depicts a monumental Civil Rights event that has a particular connection to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Fine Arts Program
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
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