Museum hours: Mondays – Fridays, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed Federal holidays)
Presented by the Creative Action Network and the National Parks Conservation Association
On view July 28 -- October 18, 2014
The Interior Museum is pleased to be hosting the “See America” traveling exhibition, presented by the Creative Action Network and the National Parks Conservation Association. Featured in this temporary show are 50 posters by 46 different artists depicting natural, cultural and historical sites across the United States. The posters are part of a growing online collection of more than 600 images submitted to the Creative Action Network by more than 185 artists worldwide.
The Creative Action Network organizes crowdsourced art campaigns around a variety of topics. Inspired by artwork created for the United States Travel Bureau by New Deal-era artists in the late 1930s, the contemporary “See America” series reimagines the theme for a 21st-century audience. The set encourages tourism and invites viewers to appreciate America’s treasures.
For this venue of “See America,” the Interior Museum has selected imagery representing sites in 37 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, DC—from scenic rivers and national parks to historic trails and state forests. Visitors will also see travel ephemera from the 1930s and 1940s, plus travel guides produced by the Federal Writers Project in the same time period. Guests may also watch a 35-minute film entitled, “Artists at Work.” Originally directed by Mary Lance in 1981, this film narrated by Morgan Freeman was the first to focus on the visual art programs of the New Deal and includes interviews with ten original New Deal artists.
On view until Spring 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.