Secretary Salazar Unveils Ansel Adams Murals at the Department of the Interior

Last edited 09/29/2021


WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today unveiled an exhibit within the corridors of the Department of the Interior of 26 never-before installed murals taken by famed photographer and conservationist Ansel Adams. The images, part of the Ansel Adams: The Mural Project 1941-1942, have been installed on the first and second floors of the Department as originally envisioned by the artist and then-Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes.

“Through Adams' artistry, he demonstrated not only the ‘grandeur and influence of the Natural Scene' – as he so eloquently put it – but the benefits of conservation, sound direction, and stewardship of those resources,” said Secretary Salazar.
Secretary Ickes first met Adams at a 1936 conference on the future of national and state parks. A keen student of both conservation and art, Ickes soon thereafter acquired Adams' mural-sized triptych, Leaves, for display in his personal office.

So impressed was Ickes with the photographer, he commissioned the artist in 1941 to produce a series of photographic murals for installation in the new Department headquarters. With the advent of World War II, the Department canceled the project and never installed Adams' photographs.

The spectacular images were taken at some of the American West's most iconic sites including the Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks as well as Boulder Dam. There are also captivating images of Navajo and Pueblo Indians.

Upon taking office, Secretary Salazar directed the installation within the corridors of the Main Interior Building. “It is my hope that visitors from across our great nation now will have a chance to see the blessings of America's great outdoors through the lens of one of America's greatest artists”

The original photographs (signed exhibition copy by Adams) are stored at the National Archives to ensure their preservation and protection.

A photo slide show of the prints will be available on our website at at 6:30pm EST.

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