Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Unveils New Ansel Adams Murals

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

I recently unveiled a series of magnificent murals that highlights the legacy of two of the greatest figures in U.S. Department of the Interior’s history, Secretary Harold Ickes and renowned photographer Ansel Adams. The murals represent 26 of the photos Ickes commissioned Adams to produce as part of the Department’s Mural Project of 1941.

On display in the main hallways of the first and second floors of the main Interior building, these stunning black-and-white photos convey the beauty Adams’ saw in our Department’s diverse mission, and include: a pair of Native American children; the eruption of Old Faithful; and the intricate network of power lines at Boulder Dam.

Ickes and Adams first met in 1936, while attending a conference on the future of national and state parks. Ickes was secretary of the Interior under President Franklin Roosevelt; Adams, a renowned photographer and president of the Sierra Club. The two immediately found a common bond in a deep love for the beauty of our nation’s land and a desire to see it conserve that land for future generations.

At San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, 1942 (National Archives no. 79-AAP-04 Ansel Adams)

In fact, Adams used his photographic talent to lead a successful campaign to save the Kings River area of the Sierra Nevada and have Congress designate it as Kings Canyon National Park.

Ickes believed that the Interior building, which was completed in 1936, should be symbolic of the Department’s mission to manage and conserve our nation’s vast resources. So in 1941, he hired Adams to create a photographic mural for display in this building that reflected the Department’s mission: the beautiful land, the proper stewardship of our resources, and the people we serve.

The attack on Pearl Harbor and our nation’s entry into World War II brought the project to a halt. The more than 200 photographs that Adams took have been stored in the National Archives, but never printed or hung as murals.

Now, with our installation of the murals, we are able to share with visitors from across the nation Ickes and Adams’ timeless vision for this Department — and how we are in the business of fulfilling that vision today.

Note: Simply click on the photos to enlarge

Kearsage Pinnacles, Kings River Canyon California (National Archives no. 79-AAH-7 Ansel Adams)

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6 Comments

Filed under Art, Artists, Environment, Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar (Sec of Interior)

6 responses to “Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Unveils New Ansel Adams Murals

  1. lynnette

    In 2004, my family and I went to visit Yosemite for the very first time, where I believe there is an Ansel Adams studio gallery. Anyway, we were entering the park just around sunset, and around the curve in the road appeared the beautiful granite formations, basking in the soft glow of the setting sun. It was one of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. A few days later, we ended our trip there by exiting Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks at just about the same time of evening – maybe a little later, and what a winding road we drove partly in the dark! But the sky was a gorgeous pink and purply-blue draped around the mountains which I will never forget. It looked like heaven to me, just stunning.

    • spirit_55Z

      Yosemite is stunning. I visited it for the first time in 1992 and became a big fan of Ansel Adams’ body of work. I love Georgia O’
      Keefe too!

      When I lived in the Southwest, I got to visit some of these extraordianary national treasures. The Grand Canyon is breath-taking. Most were were within driving distance, so you can imagine the sheer joy of stopping ad lib and nesting in the beauty of it all…

  2. Sloan

    Nice post! I really like your posting.
    i will come back to read more of your posts.
    nice photo

    Cheers

  3. koluis

    I like this content so much. Imagination is more important than knowledge.

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