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.”
At a glance
‘National Geographic's Greatest Photographs of the American West'
The national exhibition currently includes the following museums:
• Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyo.
• Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis
• Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
• National Cowboy and Western Heritage
• 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