Prints of some of the earliest known photographs of the Tetons and the area that would become Yellowstone National Park are currently on display at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM).
On Tuesday, July 19, residents and visitors also have the opportunity to learn more about the so-called “pioneer photographer” who captured them in the early 1870s: William Henry Jackson.
“Jackson was the official photographer on the Hayden expedition, which was one of the first surveys to come through this area,” said Morgan Jaouen, executive director of the historical society and museum. “He was accompanied by [painter] Thomas Moran as well as another painter, and it was really on them to help visualize and then share what this place looked like and felt to the rest of the country.”
The images Jackson brought back helped support the congressional action of March 1, 1872, that designated Yellowstone as the country’s first national park. The exhibit of reprints of Jackson’s photos from the Hayden Geological Surveys of 1871 and 1872 is part of the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park being celebrated this year.
Historian and author Bob Blair, who edited a 2005 edition of Jackson’s memoir and researched and wrote the Jackson exhibit, will join fellow historian and JHHSM board member Sherry L. Smith in conversation about Jackson’s life and work at the museum Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. Admission to the museum is free for the event.
Jaouen said the conversation will give Blair an opportunity to share more details about the stories behind Jackson’s iconic images. She also encouraged local residents to explore other activities celebrating the Yellowstone anniversary, which she described as “one of the most defining pieces of our regional history.”
The exhibit “William Henry Jackson: Pioneer Photographer Works from the Tetons & Yellowstone” will be on display through March 2023.