Zion National Park Foundation Donates Historic Painting to Zion National Park

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Date: June 8, 2007
Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160

The Zion National Park Foundation, a fund-raising branch of the Zion Natural History Association (ZNHA), was recently formed at the request of Zion National Park Superintendent, Jock Whitworth.  The Foundation will be the official and legal entity authorized to raise funds for Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Pipe Spring National Monument. The new Foundation received a welcome start-up donation of $5,000, through Zion National Park, from the National Park Foundation.   “This is very exciting for Zion and our close friends and partners in ZNHA.  It will help us build on their success to better serve these National Park Service units as we approach the Centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.” said Whitworth.

The first project undertaken by the Zion National Park Foundation was the acquisition at auction of a 1903 oil painting of Zion Canyon by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh.  The Foundation acquired the painting through a grant from the George S. and Dolores Dorè Eccles Foundation and then donated the painting to the National Park Service

Superintendent Whitworth was extremely pleased with the acquisition, adding “The painting is a rare representation of Zion Canyon before it was established as Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909 and is a valuable addition to the park’s museum collection.  The painting will be on temporary exhibit in the Zion Human History Museum through September 30, 2007.  Afterwards, it will be sent off for conservation treatment and preparation for exhibit during the 2009 centennial celebration of Zion National Park.”

Frederick S. Dellenbaugh was an early artist and topographer of the American West.  He served as an assistant topographer with Major John Wesley Powell’s second expedition of the Colorado River for 1871-1873.  He spent the summer of 1903 painting Zion Canyon.  These paintings were exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and spectators could not believe that such a place really existed.  Dellenbaugh also wrote about his impressions of Zion Canyon in the January, 1904 edition of Scribner’s Magazine.

Dellenbaugh’s paintings and the Scribner article created interest in Zion Canyon and contributed to President William Howard Taft’s proclamation creating Mukuntuweap National Monument on July 31, 1909.  In 1919, Congress redesignated the area as Zion National Park.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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