Doug Leen to Speak About Historic National Parks Posters

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Date: September 17, 2015
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

MOOSE, WY —Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association will host a presentation by historian and former Grand Teton National Park Ranger Doug Leen on Friday, September 18, at 5:30 p.m. The presentation will take place in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center Auditorium in Moose and will be accompanied by a traveling exhibit of original posters from the 1930s and 1940s Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project that promoted the national parks to the nation.

The Federal Art Project, a Great Depression-era program created in 1935 as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal," employed artists to create murals, paintings, posters, and other visual art forms. In 1938, the National Park Service (NPS) joined the Federal Art Project to create posters to promote the young national park system to the American public. Only 14 park posters were completed before the project was terminated in 1943 due to the onset of World War II. 

Almost all of the art from the Federal Art Project has been lost, however Leen has worked over the last few decades to rediscover these posters promoting national parks including Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, Zion, and others. Leen first came across one of the posters while cleaning out a storage shed while working as a seasonal park ranger in Grand Teton in 1973. After initially hanging the poster on his wall, he became interested in learning more about its history. He began a search of the NPS archives and discovered black and white negatives documenting the series of posters. 

Leen's talk will trace the roots of the WPA posters. He will tell the story of his research into the poster project and will also have five original WPA works on display. These five originals were recently on display in the Department of the Interior's exhibition hall and will soon return to the Smithsonian Institution. They will only be on display during the presentation. The event is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. 


Last updated: September 17, 2015

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