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Sep 25, 2020 20 tweets 14 min read Read on X
Welcome! I'm Tracy Baetz, Chief Curator here @Interior & today we’re excited for the virtual launch of “Thomas Moran & the ‘Big Picture.’” The masterpieces -"The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” & “The Chasm of the Colorado”- have returned for the 1st time in 2 decades Thomas Moran & the "Bi...
In capturing the natural beauty of @YellowstoneNPS & @GrandCanyonNPS, these monumental canvases shaped many people’s impressions of the American West in the 1870’s & forever framed the discourse surrounding public lands. #BigPictureMorans On the left, Moran's painti...
When Thomas Moran debuted “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” in 1872, he captured in full color the natural beauty of a region relatively few people had ever seen. Here’s some of the backstory... #BigPictureMorans “The Grand Canyon of the Ye...
For several weeks in the summer of 1871, Moran traveled as the guest artist on the federally-sponsored Hayden geological survey of the Yellowstone region. It was his first time on a horse, carrying a rifle, or camping out.🏕️ #BigPictureMorans

📸Thomas Moran inspecting terraces Thomas Moran inspecting the...
He had to travel light and work quickly, making annotated watercolors in a sketchbook to help commit these extraordinary sights to memory. Many scenes he wouldn’t complete until he returned home to his studio, where he could use an easel and his oil paints. #BigPictureMorans Paint palette belonging to ...
Think of Moran’s Yellowstone images as the Instagram of the 1870’s. They depicted a wonderland that almost defied belief & helped make the case for preserving it. His illustrations appeared in magazines & in the Hayden expedition’s official report to Congress #BigPictureMorans In 1872 Scribner’s Monthly ...
President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation making @YellowstoneNPS the country’s first national park on March 1, 1872. Two months later, Moran was ready to unveil his incredible 7' x 12' painting of Yellowstone’s iconic canyon and Lower Falls. Act creating Yellowstone Na...
It’s not uncommon to notice a new detail every time you look at “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.” Moran was traveling with scientists and was keen to accurately portray the flora, fauna and geology. Can you spot the bear and the raptor in the painting? #BigPictureMorans An outline of a bear in outline of a bird of prey
Congress bought “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” from Moran for $10,000. It was the first American landscape painting ever purchased for the U.S. Capitol. It initially hung in this very spot in National Statuary Hall #BigPictureMorans Photo by Tracy Baetz, 2020 ...
You might be wondering: If I visit @YellowstoneNPS, can I see the same thing as in Moran’s painting? The answer?

Sort of. It’s a composite view from a spot on the North Rim, but Moran took some artistic liberties with the vista and perspective #BigPictureMorans NPS photo by Jacob Frank of...
Who are the people in the painting?

The man seated on the rock with the sketchpad is artist Thomas Moran. He painted himself!

The other person is William Henry Jackson, the photographer. He needed animals to help with gear – a far cry from today’s smartphones! Image
Moran completed “The Chasm of the Colorado” in 1874. He again captures the forces of nature, this time at what would become @GrandCanyonNPS.

He joined John Wesley Powell’s expedition in 1873 with the intent of painting a vista to pair with his Yellowstone canvas at the Capitol Thomas Moran's Painting  “T...
Check out his signature! Notice the T-Y-M monogram? With the success of his earlier Yellowstone paintings, he started going by Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran. What would YOUR park “middle name” be?

#BigPictureMorans A close up of the signature...
Both paintings hung prominently at the Capitol until 1950, when President Truman signed a law transferring them to the @Interior. Renovations at the Capitol meant that the paintings were not as publicly visible, and they were too big to hang elsewhere in the building Paintings document that ann...
Spa treatment? No – this is what “The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” looks like under black light! Museums use this as a tool to learn more about an artifact’s condition and any past restorations. Clues will fluoresce. Our paintings are in great shape for being about 150 y/o! Image
Behind the scenes// How do you move 7 x 12-foot historic paintings? Very carefully! A crew of specially-trained art handlers assisted w/ the transportation & installation, and @USParkPolice provided a security escort. Lots of collaboration & choreography went into the final plans Movers sliding the painting...The large painting in front...The painting enters into t...
We want everyone to experience the #BigPictureMorans! To make the paintings more inclusive, we're exhibiting tactile reproductions, accompanied with audio descriptions, to give people who are blind or with low vision a chance to experience them Tactile - white textured co...
What goes into creating an exhibition? So much! Planning, research, writing, finding images, and designing the experience. @InteriorMuseum we recently expanded into >2,000 sq ft of renovated space. Putting up graphics and text panels, installing exhibit cases, lighting- etc 😅 Holding up the palette, - t...Unveiling the words that re...Making sure the exhibit pie...Looking over the books on l...
Thanks for joining us today! We're eager to reopen @InteriorMuseum and look forward to sharing details as soon as we can resume safe public access. Until then, we'll keep sharing @Interior artifacts and history with you here! #BigPictureMorans Gallery views with text pan...Gallery views with text pan...Gallery views with text pan...
🎨Catch even more about the #BigPictureMorans on the @Interior blog:…

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More from @InteriorMuseum

Jun 7, 2021
The #MuseumWeek celebration of museums worldwide is back! The first of 7 daily themes is one of “beginning,” i.e., #OnceUponATimeMW. We’re jumping in with a thread on the backstory of our own @InteriorMuseum. (1/9) Interior Museum's circular bison logoThree men looking at and working a large-scale museum dioram
In 1935, the @Interior’s responsibilities are expanding and have outgrown its WWI-era HQ building. 32nd Interior Secretary Harold Ickes endeavors to build a new HQ – the 1st federal building in Washington DC to be fully conceptualized & built in the FDR administration. (2/9) Architectural, birds-eye view drawing of the Interior headqu
Realizing that @Interior is a large, complex agency, constructing the new 1930s HQ is also seen as an opportunity to be more to be more transparent and relevant to the American people. One of many new elements specified for inclusion is a public #museum. (3/9) Black and white photograph of a 6-winged building under cons
Read 9 tweets
Nov 10, 2020
Each year, @InteriorMuseum places ribbons alongside the official portraits of @Interior secretaries who are veterans of U.S. armed forces. In this thread, we’ll be sharing details of their service with you.

#ArchivesHashtagParty #ArchivesVeterans #VeteransDay
(Thread 1/17) Red, white, and blue ribbon...
10th @Interior secretary Jacob Cox was a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War and fought in several key campaigns, including at Antietam. In his later years, he penned several memoirs and military histories about the Civil War.

#ArchivesVeterans (INTR 01614) Painted portrait of bearded...
13th @Interior secretary Carl Schurz joined the Union Army in 1862 and rose through the ranks to serve as a major general during the Civil War. He fought at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run and at the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg & Chattanooga. #ArchivesVeterans (INTR 01617) Painted portrait of bearded...
Read 18 tweets
Nov 7, 2020
Happy #NationalBisonDay! In addition to being our national mammal, the bison has long been a symbol of @Interior and appears in art and architectural details throughout our main headquarters building in Washington, DC. Let's take a #BisonTour to explore! (1/15)
📷USFWS/A. Forrest Two bison, close up and in right profile
#DidYouKnow that the @Interior's official seal has included a bison almost continuously since 1917? (It used to be an 🦅in varying poses). Pictured here from our museum collection is the die for the 1st bison seal in 1917 (INTR 01970).

#BisonTour (2/15) Department of Interior circular die with bison standing in l
Many painted bison are at @Interior. This nearly life-size rendition was created in 1939 by Kiowa artist Stephen Mopope (1898-1974) just beneath his incredible 50' mural, "Ceremonial Dance" in our public cafeteria--appropriately named the Bison Bistro!

#BisonTour (3/15) Painted bison head, frontal view, by Stephen Mopope
Read 15 tweets
May 8, 2020
🐾 It's #NationalPetMonth, so we're going behind-the-scenes for some Friday fun to introduce you to a few @InteriorMuseum staffers' furry fur-ends (ehm..."co-workers"). Meet Tybalt, Han & Leia, and Oscar & Mayer! (thread 1/6) Collage of four photos. Top...
Tybalt is a 15-lb domestic shorthair cat. ~4 yrs ago he showed up looking for food & snuggles and found his forever home. He likes walking on trails with his humans and even has whistle recall! Guilty pleasures? Hanging out in a hammock and an occasional snack of popcorn.🍿
(2/6) Gray cat lounging outside i...
Han is a rescue and probably a German Shepherd/Greyhound mix. He’s 8 years old and loves making new friends and giving lots of kisses. And no matter where *you* might want to sit on the🛋️couch, *all* the spots are his! 😆
(3/6) Smiling dog laying on his b...
Read 6 tweets
Apr 16, 2020
#OnThisDate in 1936, a public ceremony was held for laying the cornerstone of @Interior's current headquarters building (Federal Public Works Project No. 4).

(Thread 1/5) #MuseumMoment #MuseumFromHome #VirtualVisit #OTD

📷 INTR 07449 Aerial image of crowd atten...
Various dignitaries were in attendance, including President Franklin Roosevelt, architect Waddy Wood, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes (left), and chair of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission Frederic A. Delano (right).


📷 INTR 07447 Interior Secretary Harold I...
In his prepared remarks, Secretary Ickes said, "This new building represents much more to us than merely better and more desirable office space; . . . it is to us a symbol of a new day." (3/5)

📷 INTR 07442 Secretary Ickes giving rema...
Read 5 tweets
Mar 24, 2020
The #MuseumMoment slated to be happening now at @InteriorMuseum has been indefinitely postponed, but our registrar Jason Jurgena still wanted to share with you some of what he'd prepared. READ ON 👇 (thread 1/6) #MuseumFromHome Image
In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as part of his New Deal program, sending millions of jobless Americans back to work during the Great Depression. (2/6)
Through Federal Project Number One within the WPA, many unemployed artists worked on arts-related projects, including creating 14 designs for screen-printed posters promoting 13 @NatlParkService sites from 1938 to 1941. (3/6)
Read 6 tweets

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