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A Window to the Past: New Exhibit in Yosemite National Park to Feature Early Visitor Photographs and Souvenirs

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Date: June 8, 2010


A new exhibit entitled “View & Visitors: The Yosemite Experience in the 19th Century,” will open to the public on June 16, 2010. The exhibit, in the Yosemite Valley Museum features paintings, prints, artifacts and ephemera from Yosemite’s early years. An exhibit opening reception will be held on June 15 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. located in the Yosemite Valley Museum. There is no cost to attend and food and drink will be served at the reception.

A highlight of this unique exhibit is a historic hotel register, called “Grand Register of Yo-Semite Valley,” that was used at the Cosmopolitan Bathhouse and Saloon, located in Yosemite Valley from 1873 to 1884. The register is available for the public to view through an interactive kiosk featuring entries from visitors to Yosemite Valley as early as 1873. The Cosmopolitan Register itself contains over 800 pages of entries and weighs over 100 pounds. It was donated to Yosemite National Park by the Yosemite Fund in 2007. The book contains more than 18,000 signatures. Among them are four U.S. presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.

The exhibit also includes antique photographs and paintings of visitors, historic hotels, and the Yosemite landscape. Historic photographs will be exhibited through a digital slideshow, as well as displayed in protective cases. Early souvenirs, guidebooks, and other artifacts will also be featured. 

The exhibit was made possible through a grant from The Yosemite Conservancy, as well as funding from the National Park Service. 

The Yosemite Museum is located in Yosemite Valley next to the Visitor Center. The exhibit will be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through October 31, 2010.

Did You Know?

American Indians use traditional ignition methods on a prescribed fire project

The indigenous people of Yosemite Valley have used fire as a tool for thousands of years. Fire was used to encourage the growth of plants used for basket making and to promote the growth of the black oak--a sun loving species--and a staple food source for American Indians from this region.