National Geographic exhibit is well-received in Oklahoma City, museum director says

“National Geographic's Greatest Photographs of the American West” exhibition opened in late October at 10 museums in the United States, including in Oklahoma City and Tulsa
by Bryan Painter Modified: November 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012

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

There is a companion book to the exhibit, “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West: Capturing 125 Years of Majesty, Spirit and Adventure.” Produced by Rich Clarkson, former director of photography at National Geographic magazine, the book features 185 images. The forward is written by James McNutt, president and CEO of the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States, a key organizer for the exhibition.

“This volume and the exhibit that it accompanies give a small hint of the scope and significance of the National Geographic holdings,” McNutt said. “From that, it is only possible to guess at the impact of millions of such images disseminated through National Geographic magazine and other media.”

McNutt said that because of the vastness of the collection, the decision was made to present the exhibition through four aspects of the American West: “Legends,” “Encounters,” “Boundaries” and “Visions.”

The “Encounters” area of the exhibition includes “Clearing Winter Storm,” a powerful black-and-white photo by Ansel Adams taken in Yosemite Valley in the 1930s. And in “Boundaries” is a Jonathan S. Blair 1972 photo showing one of the “bear jams” as visitors to Yellowstone stop to look at and take pictures of a bear. This occurred despite warnings against approaching, crowding or feeding the bears.

The run of the exhibition will vary by location. However, it continues through Jan. 6 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Leslie said.

“I think it's going to be an exhibit that's very appealing to a broad section of our visitors,” Leslie said. “It's been a very powerful show for us already.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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At a glance

‘National Geographic's Greatest Photographs of the American West'

The national exhibition currently includes the following museums:

• Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Ga.

• Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyo.

• Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis

• Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa

• National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

• National Geographic Museum, Washington, D.C.

• National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

• Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, N.Y.

• C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Mont.

• Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas

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