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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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H.R. 754: A bill to designate the National Museum of Wildlife Art as the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States




STATEMENT OF JANET SNYDER MATTHEWS, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CULTURAL RESOURCES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS, OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 754, TO DESIGNATE THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART, LOCATED AT 2820 RUNGIUS ROAD, JACKSON, WYOMING, AS THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART OF THE UNITED STATES.

MARCH 15, 2007

_____________________________________________________________________________

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 754, a bill to designate the National Museum of Wildlife Art as the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States.

The Department has no position on H.R. 754 since it involves the renaming of a private museum that is not located within the boundaries of any federally owned property and is not under federal jurisdiction. However, the Administration would not support future federal funding for this museum. Also, while we are not aware of one, prior to moving forward with this bill we would encourage the subcommittee to determine that there is not another National Museum of Wildlife Art that might object to the redesignation of this museum.

In a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, on April 6, 2006, the Department testified with the same position on S. 2252, an identical bill.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is a private, non-profit entity located just outside of Jackson, Wyoming, across from the National Elk Refuge and only a short distance from Grand Teton National Park. Although the museum is not affiliated with the park, it supports the park’s mission to preserve and protect wildlife and serves many of the same visitors.

Grand Teton National Park has a relationship with the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Recently, the park and the museum worked together on a special exhibition of the works of Thomas Moran, one of the premier painters of the American West, and the artist who accompanied the Hayden Expedition into Yellowstone in 1871. Moran is perhaps most widely known for his monumental paintings of Yellowstone, works that showed the American people for the first time the spectacular natural treasures of the area and inspired them to preserve it as the world’s first national park. The area that was to become Grand Teton National Park was also the subject of Moran’s brush, and the park has several of his works in its museum collection. Last summer, those works were on loan from the Park to the National Museum of Wildlife Art and were displayed as part of an exhibition celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Hayden Expedition that first explored and documented the region that is now Yellowstone National Park. Those works are now being stored by the Museum in their high-quality curatorial facility and the Park and Museum are working together on an agreement to facilitate future collaboration and partnership.

That concludes my testimony, I would be glad to answer any questions that you or other members of the subcommittee may have.