In 1941, then Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes commissioned famed photographer Ansel Adams to create a photographic mural for display in the Interior Building.
As part of the Mural Project of 1941, Ickes wanted the painting to reflect the department’s mission: the beautiful land, the proper development of our resources, and the people we serve.
Unfortunately Adams work on the project did not last long. The attack on Pearl Harbor and our nation’s entry into World War II ended the project. But Adams left behind more than 200 photographs that were eventually sent to the National Archives.
Ickes and Adams began the start of their friendship with a shared love for our country’s beauty and a longing to preserve it for years to come. Now the Department of Interior is fulfilling the vision of the Mural Project of 1941 in a new exhibition. Ansel’s black and white pictures line up the main hallways of the first and second floors of the Interior Building (1849 C Street NW).
Ansel Adams: The Mural Project 1941-1942 is open to the public by appointment only. Appointments should be made at least two weeks in advance.