Thomas Moran: Painter of Yellowstone NP

Father of Yellowstone NP

Great Springs of the Firehole River  
Thomas Moran
Great Springs of the Firehole River

Thomas Moran, with William Henry Jackson, played an important role in depicting Yellowstone. By the time Moran died in 1926, he had painted a dozen other areas that would become national parks or monuments in the National Park System. But Yellowstone, Moran himself claimed, was "his love." It is a land whose story will forever be intertwined with that of the man who first painted it, just over 125 years ago.

Moran's interest in the area that would become Yellowstone National Park was first piqued when he illustrated an article for Scribner's Monthly magazine, "The Wonders of the Yellowstone." Moran accepted the assignment without having seen the place firsthand, instead reworking amateur sketches of Yellowstone for publication. After drawing renditions of geothermal features and other natural wonders using someone else's crude sketches, notes, and verbal descriptions, Moran found a way to travel to the area himself.




Museum Management Program