150 Years of National Parks in 19 Stunning Photos

A new museum exhibit celebrates America's natural legacy.
June 4, 2016, 1:00 PM UTC
Audley D. Stewart (American, 1882–1972). George Eastman at the Grand Canyon, July 12, 1930. Gelatin silver print. George Eastman Museum, gift of University of Rochester.
All photos courtesy of the George Eastman Museum

Celebrating America’s natural legacy.

America’s national parks have been around for so long that we almost take them for granted. Abraham Lincoln was still president when California’s Yosemite Valley was first set aside as public land, in 1864, more than 150 years ago. And Yellowstone became the country’s first designated national park on March 1, 1872.

On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was formed to safeguard the parks and their heritage. And to celebrate the service’s upcoming centennial, the George Eastman Museum, a Rochester, N.Y., institution that specializes in photography and cinema, will be running an exhibition called Photography and America’s National Parks. The show starts on June 4 and runs until October 2. The exhibit will give visitors a chance to see just how much has changed (and how little) in our relationship to the country’s natural wonders.

Ansel Adams

The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust Noon clouds, Glacier Park, Montana, 1942. Gelatin silver print, printed 1950.

Roger Minick

George Eastman Museum, purchase with funds from the Charina Foundation. Roger MinickWoman with Scarf at Inspiration Point, Yosemite National Park, 1980. From the series Sightseers. Chromogenic development print, printed 2001 under the supervision of the photographer.

John K. Hillers

George Eastman Museum, gift of Harvard UniversityNan-Kun-To-Wip Valley, Arizona, 1872. Albumen silver print.

William Henry Jackson

Purchase with funds from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and donors to the PhotoFinish 5K. Rephotographic Survey ProjectHot Springs and the Castle Geyser. (Yellowstone National Park Collection.), 1872. From the series Rephotographic Survey Project. Gelatin silver print, printed 1980s.

Edward Weston

Death Valley, Corkscrew CanyonGeorge Eastman Museum, gift of Cole Weston. © 2016 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents / Artists Rights Society (ARS)Death Valley, 1947. Dye imbibition print, printed ca. 1981.

Eliot Porter

George Eastman Museum, gift of Murray Beckerman and Abraham Altus. Amon Carter Museum of American Art,Running water, Roaring Fork Road, Gt. Smoky Mts., October 10, 1967. Silver dye bleach print.

Eadweard J. Muybridge

George Eastman Museum, museum accession by exchange.Mirror Lake and Reflections, ca. 1872. Albumen silver print.

Michael Matthew Woodlee

Michael Matthew WoodleeChris, Campground Ranger, Tuolumne Meadows Campground, 2014. From the series Yos-E-Mite. Inkjet print.

Unidentified maker

George Eastman Museum, gift of Peter J. Cohen.Sequoia National Forest, ca. 1915. Gelatin silver print.

John Pfahl

John Pfahl (American, b. 1939). North Rim Highway, Grand Canyon, Arizona, June 1980. From the series "Picture Windows". Chromogenic development print, printed 1987. George Eastman Museum, gift of the photographer. © John Pfahl John PfahlNorth Rim Highway, Grand Canyon, Arizona, June 1980. From the series “Picture Windows”. Chromogenic development print, printed 1987.

Frank Jay Haynes

George Eastman MuseumSponge Geyser, ca. 1883. From the series Yellowstone Park Scenery. Albumen silver print.

Willie Osterman

Willie OstermanTram at Tunnel View, 1990/91. From the series Yosemite Photographic Survey. Inkjet print.

Mark C. Klett and Byron Wolfe

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe

Woman on head and photographer with camera; unknown dancer and Alvin Langdon Coburn at Grand View Point, 2009. Inkjet print, printed 2011.

Carleton E. Watkins

George Eastman Museum, gift of Alden Scott Boyer.Yo-wi-ye or Nevada Falls, 1861. Albumen silver print.

Audley D. Stewart

, George Eastman Museum, gift of University of Rochester.George Eastman and companions riding through Wawona Tree in Yosemite National Park, Pacific Coast Trip, 1930. gelatin silver print. George Eastman Museum, gift of University of Rochester.

Millee Tibbs

Millee TibbsMountains + Valleys: Arches, Diptych, 2013. Inkjet print.

Alvin Langdon Coburn

The Three Brothers, Yosemite, 1911, 1911 Alvin Langdon CoburnThe Three Brothers, Yosemite, 1911. Gum bichromate over platinum print.

Marcia Resnick

Marcia ResnickUntitled #10, 1974. Gelatin silver print.

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