Museum hours: Mondays – Fridays, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed Federal holidays)
On view until May 29, 2015
From 1938 to 1941, the National Park Service employed artists via the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to produce silk screened promotional posters for national park sites. The artists worked out of a facility in Berkeley, California, and the 14 designs they created were well received. With the onset of World War II, however, production ceased and the posters were lost to history until the early 1970s when a seasonal park ranger named Doug Leen happened upon an original at Grand Teton National Park. Fascinated with the artwork and the story behind it, Doug Leen set out to learn more.
Just over 40 of these exceedingly rare national park posters have since resurfaced and are in National Park Service archives, the Library of Congress and with private collectors. Through the course of two decades and extensive research, Doug Leen and his company, Ranger Doug’s Enterprises have not only painstakingly reproduced the 14 original WPA designs but also—working in collaboration with individual parks—created and screen printed more than 25 new designs “in the style of” the WPA artists.
The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum has united for the first time six WPA originals and a full complement of Leen’s contemporary editions for this visually stunning retrospective. Featured are nearly 50 classic posters associated with 36 national parks, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Interior Museum.
Opening June 2015
DOI Pop! On Air, On Screen & In Print explores the intersection of the Department of the Interior with popular culture, highlighting classic examples from the early 1900s to the present from across its bureaus. Visitors will see how the Department's people and places have influenced American identity and figured into television shows, feature films and bestselling publications. From silent films and animated cartoons to blockbuster hits and novels, visitors will discover just how often America's public lands, wildlife refuges and national parks—and even the headquarters building in Washington, DC—have been cast in memorable supporting roles. With historical artifacts and iconic imagery, the exhibition also illustrates how the Department itself has enlisted icons of pop culture for help in publicizing its missions over the years.