Greatest Photographs of the American West
National Geographic Purveys 125 Year Collection, Nationally and in the Region

01/04/13

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, as well as venues in Jackson Hole and Great Falls, have opened National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West, a collection of iconic western images gathered by Nat Geo over a span of 125 years. The images are being shown in a total of 10 western themed museums from New York state to Wyoming.

From the Oklahoma Land Rush to Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser, visitors to this exhibition effectively grasp sights and sounds captured by some of the nation’s great photographers. “The dust swirls; the sun bakes; the water roars; the stars twinkle; the wind blows; and the fires blaze: It's the West all right,” a press release from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody reads.

Covering a span of 125 years, National Geographic's "greatest" picks include valleys and mountains, people and animals, rural areas and sprawling cities, along with dams, reservoirs, cliffs, and caves. One can't help but notice a certain daring was needed to seize some of the more breathtaking shots.

“The exhibition presents a powerful and nuanced portrait of the West over more than a century, and it’s exciting that the medium of photography allows multiple openings across the country for greater impact in sharing the combined vision of such an important group of photographers" said James McNutt, President and CEO of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Photo credits include the most prominent and historical American  photographers: Ansel Adams, William Henry Jackson, Edward S. Curtis, the Kolb brothers, and the list continues. While some images are definitely of the breathtaking variety, others command little more than a long sigh. As Adams put it, "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

The massive opening simultaneously at 10 muse-ums across America is unprecedented. The display remains on exhibit at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center through August 11, 2013.

Audiences can connect with the exhibition at the following museums: Nation-al Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States (Jackson Hole, Wyo.); C.M. Russell Museum (Great Falls, Mont.); Booth Western Art Museum (Cartersville, Georgia); Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (Indianapolis, Indiana); Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma), National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); National Geographic Museum (Washington, D.C.); Rockwell Museum of Western Art (Corning, New York); and Stark Museum of Art (Orange, Texas).

The companion book (see sidebar) to the exhibition, National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West: Capturing 125 Years of Majesty, Spirit and Adventure, is available at each venue.

The National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West exhibition is organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in collaboration with the National Geographic Society and Museums West, presented by The Mays Family Foundation.

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and the nature of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating on its winter schedule, open Sat., Sun., Mon., and Tues. (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). For general information, call (307) 587-4771 or visit the Center's Web site. For information regarding the photogra-phy exhibit in Jackson Hole, call (800) 313-9553, and for the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, (406) 727-8787.

 

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