100 years of National Parks

100 years of national parks

Cincinnati Museum Center is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service on the big screen and now in a new exhibit. Our National Parks: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service is open in the Ruthven Gallery at Cincinnati Museum Center.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that created an agency “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” That agency was the National Park Service, who today oversees 59 national parks.

Our National Parks celebrates the wide open spaces and wildlife that haven been protected and preserved over the past century. From the deserts of Arizona to the swamps of Florida to the hot springs of Wyoming, Our National Parks uses objects, art and photographs to showcase the untamed beauty of the national parks and the animals that inhabit them. Animal specimens include a beaver, sidewinder rattlesnake, bald eagle and black bear. Geological artifacts like stalagmites, Sulphur and St. Louis limestone represent the rocks and minerals that have shaped and formed iconic features of the parks we love. The exhibit also features fossils like a diplodocus vertebra and fossilized footprints that litter the landscape of prehistoric North America.

While the National Park Service has created a playground for naturalists, environmentalists and the casual outdoorsperson, they have also provided boundless inspiration for artists. Nature was Charley Harper’s muse. He painted a series of posters for the National Park Service in his classic geometric style, including a multi-piece alligator painting forEverglades National Park. Reproductions of Harper’s National Park Service posters dot the walls of the exhibit.

In addition to America’s 59 national parks, the National Park Service oversees more than 300 other sites of national importance. Battlefields, historic homes, national monuments, national heritage areas and more all fall under the protection of the National Park Service. One such site is the William Howard Taft National Historic Site , which preserves the two-story Greek revival home of the Cincinnati native and the nation’s 27th President. The William Howard Taft National Historic Site has generously loaned items from their collection to illustrate the full scope of the National Park Service and to help tell the story of the only person to serve as both President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Our National Parks is a celebration of not only the agency but the many sites it protects. Within our nation’s parks are the stories of people and wildlife that came before us. They are awe-inspiring examples of nature’s beauty and power, shaping the landscape into breathtaking canyons, rippling sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and incredible natural monuments like Devil’s Tower and Delicate Arch.

Our National Parks: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service is the perfect companion exhibit to the film National Parks Adventure, now showing in the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater at Cincinnati Museum Center. The film takes viewers on an awe-inspiring visual and musical journey through several of the nation’s most iconic national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches and Pictured Rocks.  For ticket information and show times visit click here.

Our National Parks: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service is open through June 19, 2016. Exhibit admission is free but does not include admission to the OMNIMAX® film National Parks Adventure. For more information about Our National Parks: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service click here.