This is my third trip to Washington and this time I get the royal treatment from the Department of the Interior. My 20 years of republication of WPA National Park posters and contemporary works are now on exhibit at the DOI Museum. I am elated to finally get to tell my story. Jason Jurgena, Museum Director and Ranger Doug stand on the front steps. Let’s step inside…..
The exhibit is called “Posterity” and features every one of our reprints and also six originals. It will run for one year.
I requested a meeting with the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and we spend our allotted 15 minutes in her office. Here, she receives a “Ranger of the Lost Art” hat with “I Ride With Ranger Doug” on the back band. She is elated! We compare our Co-op numbers and then launch into Alaska politics, geology, and of course, this unique poster art.
After our meeting, we invite the Secretary for a personal tour of the exhibit and spend another 30 minutes with her.
The staff did a wonderful job of interpreting this art, even a center exhibit of our screen printing process and Scott’s 20 years of pulling screens. I kept hearing myself say “wow!”
Sally Jewell is the first to sign the “summit register,” and Ranger Doug is next. Third on our rope is co-author and computer guru, Brian–it’s been a long trek to this summit.
Here is the staff: Jason, Tracy, Diana and Kayla. They even set up a screen press to print the DOI poster and their logo on handbags. Great job!
Then I tell my story about the discovery and reproduction process that spans nearly 40 years. DOI also tapes a 3 hour oral history about these prints and I leave nothing out.
Here is a postcard version of the poster print for the 75th anniversary of the DOI building which coincides with the Museum opening after four and one half years of closure due to Congressional sequestration. The entire DOI building was built in the WPA era in only one and a half years. It took Congress one year to approve the lighting just for this exhibit ! Let’s go for a tour…..
Over 3000 custom brass doorknobs featuring the bison head and eagle escutcheon adorn the doors in this building. Today, only 50 knobs remain, the rest given away as retirement gifts or pilfered from the public domain. They fetch up to $1000 on ebay and if you find one, my foundation will buy these back.
On the top floor there is an ice cream parlor with hand painted murals everywhere you look. The building was designed so employees would actually want to go to work–each room has a window to the outside. On the rooftop plaza outside the ice cream parlor two cannons were placed for defense during WWII. One discharged during cleaning and blew the “W” off of “Wisconsin” on the Washington Monument–the only time it was fired during the war……
We lucked out with the cherry blossoms and the weather.
Well, time to ride off into the sunset…..that is, Amtrak back across the country and head for home. Thanks to all of you who made this possible! Stay tuned.