U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum Since 1938 the Interior Museum has been educating the public about the history, art and architecture, and current missions and programs of the U.S.
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Department of the Interior.

Mission: The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum educates the public and DOI employees about the current missions and programs of the Department of the Interior, the history of the Department, and the art and architecture of its headquarters building in Washington, DC. The Interior Museum acquires objects appropriate for promoting understanding of the Department's activities. The Museum holds these objects in trust and provides access to them for use in supporting the missions of the Department through the documentation, preservation, and management of our collections in ways that enhance their long-term availability for these purposes.

Operating as usual

Is it a photograph? A painting? Or both? In our latest blog post, explore the art and history of hand-tinted photography...
12/28/2020
Awash in Color: The Interior Museum's Hand-tinted Photographs

Is it a photograph? A painting? Or both? In our latest blog post, explore the art and history of hand-tinted photography through examples in the Interior Museum's collection: http://ow.ly/85lF50CShPp

📷: circa 1930 hand-tinted photograph of Schooner Head in Acadia National Park (OSAC 02661)

Is it a photograph? A painting? Or both? Explore the art and history of hand-tinted photography through examples in the Interior Museum's collection.

Our #ObjectOfTheMonth is this peaceful winter scene painted circa 1970 by Donald Moss (OSAC 02728). The watercolor is on...
12/23/2020

Our #ObjectOfTheMonth is this peaceful winter scene painted circa 1970 by Donald Moss (OSAC 02728). The watercolor is one of three pieces in our collection inspired by Moss's experiences as a National Park Service artist in residence at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park a half-century ago.

Moss attended design school at the Pratt Institute on the G.I. Bill, after serving in the Marines in World War II. He is perhaps best known for his 30 years as a freelancer with Sports Illustrated, during which time he completed more covers and editorial illustrations for the magazine than any other American artist. You might also recognize his art from having appeared in Super Bowl posters, on a dozen U.S. postage stamps, and even as the official mascot logo for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

In this month 1870, Scribner’s Monthly magazine approaches artist Thomas Moran to rework other artists' field sketches t...
12/22/2020

In this month 1870, Scribner’s Monthly magazine approaches artist Thomas Moran to rework other artists' field sketches to complement a forthcoming article by Nathaniel Langford about a privately-funded expedition to the Yellowstone region made earlier in the year. Moran agrees and goes on to make his very first images of Yellowstone sight unseen!

Follow along with #BigPictureMorans as we build up to the 150th anniversary of Moran creating his 1871 masterpiece, "The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone."

Our final e-newsletter of 2020 is here >> http://ow.ly/m4PI50CPO32In this issue: a tradition of secretarial portraiture ...
12/19/2020

Our final e-newsletter of 2020 is here >> http://ow.ly/m4PI50CPO32
In this issue: a tradition of secretarial portraiture continued; a new blog post exploring the art and history of hand-tinted photography; and a collections spotlight on a peaceful winter scene to end the year!

Our final #NNAHM feature from our collection is this mesmerizingly intricate illustration, “Up Above” by contemporary Og...
11/30/2020

Our final #NNAHM feature from our collection is this mesmerizingly intricate illustration, “Up Above” by contemporary Oglala Lakota artist Wade Patton. He grew up in South Dakota, earned a BFA, and worked for years as an artist in Boston before returning to South Dakota to continue his profession. While this piece is rendered in Micron ink and graphite, Patton also works in ceramics, quilting, and oil pastels.

#ObjectoftheMonth #NAHM2020

📷(OSAC 07357)

This luminous acrylic on canvas, “Night Shade Lodge,” has near-photographic qualities. Painted by renowned Crow artist, ...
11/29/2020

This luminous acrylic on canvas, “Night Shade Lodge,” has near-photographic qualities. Painted by renowned Crow artist, Allen Knows His Gun, it is today’s featured work from our collection.

#ObjectoftheMonth #NAHM2020 #NNAHM

📷Painting of a Plains Indian tipi, illuminated from within at twillight. (OSAC 07354)

Award-winning Tlingit artist James Johnson is the creative force behind this contemporary acrylic on canvas piece, “Box ...
11/28/2020

Award-winning Tlingit artist James Johnson is the creative force behind this contemporary acrylic on canvas piece, “Box Rendition.” Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Johnson honors his ancestors by perpetuating Tlingit art forms in mixed media, on canvas, in sculpture, and as carved masks. His work is also in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

#ObjectoftheMonth #NAHM2020 #NNAHM

📷: Bold formline art in red, white, black and green (OSAC 07348)

Artist Karma Henry is a member of the Fort Independence Community of Paiute Indians of the Fort Independence Reservation...
11/28/2020

Artist Karma Henry is a member of the Fort Independence Community of Paiute Indians of the Fort Independence Reservation, California. These two acrylic on canvas works—“Saguaros at Dusk” (top) and “Ajo Sunset”—were part of a series she completed in 2019, shortly after her Artist-in-Residency at the Sonoran Desert Conference Center in Arizona.

#ObjectsoftheMonth #NAHM2020 #NNAHM

📷: (OSAC 07350, 07351)

Continuing our spotlight on contemporary indigenous works in our collection with these pieces of ledger art by internati...
11/27/2020

Continuing our spotlight on contemporary indigenous works in our collection with these pieces of ledger art by internationally acclaimed artist, Terrance Guardipee. Based in Seattle, he is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana. Guardipee is credited as among the first Native artists to revive the historical ledger art tradition for modern audiences.

#ObjectsoftheMonth #NAHM2020

📷(OSAC 07352, 07353)

Evoking vibrance and serenity, today’s National Native American Heritage Month feature is “Peace of Mind” by Joyce Nevaq...
11/26/2020

Evoking vibrance and serenity, today’s National Native American Heritage Month feature is “Peace of Mind” by Joyce Nevaquaya Harris (Comanche). Based in Oklahoma, Harris is a self-taught and award-winning artist specializing in acrylics and oils.

#ObjectoftheMonth #NNAHM

📷 (OSAC 07349)

We’re rounding out the remaining days of National Native American Heritage Month with a look at works in our collection ...
11/25/2020

We’re rounding out the remaining days of National Native American Heritage Month with a look at works in our collection by contemporary indigenous artists.

Today, we’re featuring 3 pieces by Rowan Harrison. Drawing inspiration from his Pueblo of Isleta and Navajo heritage, he creates in two distinct media: clay and pen and ink. In the works depicted here, you can see the influence of traditional southwestern ceramic patterns–except that Harrison draws these all freehand! He explains that many of his motifs include sections or breaks emblematic of the “different directions that we all take in life”; circular elements symbolizing the sun, moon and planets; arrays of small dots signifying stars representing past generations; or fine line work suggestive of life-sustaining rain. Together he combines these elements with color to illustrate the beauty of the natural world.

#NNAHM #ObjectsoftheMonth

From left to right: “Blue Aspirations,” “Tribal Plains,” “The Three Eclipse” (OSAC 07345 – 07347)

#OnThisDate 1935 in U.S. Department of the Interior history, Secretary Harold Ickes gives a radio address on NBC as part...
11/25/2020

#OnThisDate 1935 in U.S. Department of the Interior history, Secretary Harold Ickes gives a radio address on NBC as part of the official groundbreaking ceremony for what is today the agency's headquarters building. Construction had gotten underway just a few weeks earlier.

📷: Image courtesy the Library of Congress (39649)

#OnThisDate 1998, the U.S. Department of the Interior's main auditorium was named for Sidney R. Yates (1909-2000), who r...
11/24/2020

#OnThisDate 1998, the U.S. Department of the Interior's main auditorium was named for Sidney R. Yates (1909-2000), who represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for 48 years from 1949 to 1963 and again from 1965 to 1999. He served on the Appropriations Committee throughout his tenure and from 1975 to 1995 chaired the Interior Subcommittee. Also bearing his name is the Federal building on 14th Street, N.W. housing the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service.

The first installment of our newly-launched blog is, "A Tale of Two Totems." As part of Native American Heritage Month, ...
11/16/2020
A Tale of Two Totems

The first installment of our newly-launched blog is, "A Tale of Two Totems." As part of Native American Heritage Month, we're introducing you to a pair of historically and culturally significant carved story poles from the 1930s at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Read on >> https://www.doi.gov/interiormuseum/tale-two-totems

A look at two historically and culturally significant carved story poles from the 1930s at the U.S. Department of the Interior

#RockYourMocs! You can touch this pair displayed in our #PeopleLandWater exhibition! By integrating traditional beadwork...
11/15/2020

#RockYourMocs!

You can touch this pair displayed in our #PeopleLandWater exhibition! By integrating traditional beadwork onto modern-day sneakers, artist Steve Zimmerman (Cheyenne River Sioux) is creatively introducing Native design to new audiences.

#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Time to #RockYourMocs! Begun in 2011, this annual event inspires cultural pride for American Indians and Alaska Natives,...
11/15/2020

Time to #RockYourMocs! Begun in 2011, this annual event inspires cultural pride for American Indians and Alaska Natives, showcases individual tribal identity, and honors ancestors. We’re participating virtually by sharing some incredible mocs from our Interior Museum collection!

#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth #rockyourmocs2020

📷: 7 pairs of mocassins, ranging from doll and child's sizes to adult. Some are made from hide and fur while others are beaded (INTR 00634, 00129, 01191, 07328, 01147, 00635)

Newsflash! We've launched a blog to expand our storytelling. Here you'll find longer-format, image-rich articles on Inte...
11/14/2020

Newsflash! We've launched a blog to expand our storytelling. Here you'll find longer-format, image-rich articles on Interior Museum collections and historical topics. We've just been calling it "the blog," but we welcome your ideas for a more creative title! https://www.doi.gov/interiormuseum/blog

We can't wait to share some mocs from our collection in honor of #RockYourMocs day. Watch this space on Sunday, 11/15! #...
11/13/2020

We can't wait to share some mocs from our collection in honor of #RockYourMocs day. Watch this space on Sunday, 11/15!

#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Don’t forget! Sunday is #RockYourMocs day! It’s easy to participate. Wear moccasins to school, to work or wherever your day takes you. If you don’t own mocs, can’t wear mocs, or perhaps your Tribe didn’t wear mocs, wear a Turquoise Awareness Ribbon instead. #RockYourMocs!

Your November e-newsletter is here! In this issue: a new display focusing on works by William Henry Jackson; the launch ...
11/12/2020

Your November e-newsletter is here! In this issue: a new display focusing on works by William Henry Jackson; the launch of our blog; recent acquistions of works by contemporary Native artists; a virtual #BisonTour; and a special collections highlight with a Veterans Day theme. Read on >> http://ow.ly/5wYD50Cifxd

On this #VeteransDay, we're sharing this "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbon pin from our collection (INTR 04400). On Mar...
11/11/2020

On this #VeteransDay, we're sharing this "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbon pin from our collection (INTR 04400). On March 31, 2003, Interior secretary Gale Norton held an employee assembly and distributed these pins to "honor and support the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professionalism of our service men and women, serving at home and around the world." She specifically acknowledged that many Interior employees serve as reservists or guardsmen and that 52 employees had been called to active duty for the Iraq War.

#DOIVeterans

#VeteransDay tributes continue with this portrait of 35th U.S. Department of the Interior secretary Douglas McKay. He ha...
11/11/2020

#VeteransDay tributes continue with this portrait of 35th U.S. Department of the Interior secretary Douglas McKay. He has the distinction of having served in both WWI and WWII. During WWI, he fought with American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was severely wounded in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. He volunteered for service in WWII and was an Army major. Due to lingering effects from his WWI injuries, McKay served stateside at Camp Murray and Camp Adair.

👀 Look closely at McKay’s official portrait as Secretary of the Interior (shown here): he is wearing his Purple Heart Ribbon lapel pin.

#DOIVeterans
📷 Portrait of Secretary McKay by Irving Resnikoff, INTR 01639

Did you know?WWII-era U.S. Department of the Interior staff donated more than $5,000 to create two memorial plaques with...
11/11/2020

Did you know?

WWII-era U.S. Department of the Interior staff donated more than $5,000 to create two memorial plaques with the names of 221 employees “who died in the country’s wars;” these were ultimately unveiled at Interior DC headquarters in February 1951. Leftover monies went toward creating a War Memorial Library section within the Department of the Interior Library. In 1950, approximately 500 books were purchased, covering an array of topics relevant to the Interior’s work. Each of those books bears a special bookplate which had been designed by L. S. Hillman, a Bureau of Land Management employee who also served as an American Legion post commander.

#VeteranDay #DOIVeterans

Service flags with stars have historically denoted numbers serving and lost. This service flag in our collection hung in...
11/11/2020

Service flags with stars have historically denoted numbers serving and lost. This service flag in our collection hung inside Interior’s DC headquarters building (now the GSA building) during World War I and bears 30 stars. Ultimately, 46 Department of the Interior employees died during World War I.

We recently found at the National Archives a photograph of another large, Interior WWI service flag. In the detail shown here you can see an outdoor version of the service flag hanging on the F Street facade.

#DOIVeterans #veteransday
📷: INTR 01065 (service flag, Interior Museum photo) and National Archives photo from RG48, Box 2019 of the former headquarters building flying an exterior service flag.

Several lasting tributes to veterans appear throughout the U.S. Department of the Interior. One historical example is th...
11/11/2020

Several lasting tributes to veterans appear throughout the U.S. Department of the Interior. One historical example is the set of tablets unveiled February 21, 1951, at the entrance to the main headquarters building which memorializes Departmental employees who served--and gave the ultimate sacrifice--in World Wars I and II. Another more contemporary example is the plaque at the headquarters offices of our Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement which recognizes all the veterans (past and present) of the Minerals Management Service and its successor organizations.

#VeteransDay #DOIVeterans

Kicking off this Veterans Day with a tidbit of U.S. Department of the Interior history! Did you know that from 1849 to 1...
11/11/2020

Kicking off this Veterans Day with a tidbit of U.S. Department of the Interior history! Did you know that from 1849 to 1930, the Department of the Interior managed the Bureau of Pensions? Precursors were in the Treasury and War departments, but duties moved once Interior was created. The Bureau of Pensions' first Interior-based offices were located in the Patent Building, which you might recognize better today as the home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. As you can imagine, pension processing increased exponentially during the American Civil War, and a new Pension Bureau building was constructed to accomodate this growth. Today, that structure is the National Building Museum. In 1926, Interior moved the Pensions offices into its new headquarters (what is now the General Services Administration headquarters building). However, in 1930, the role of the Bureau of Pensions was transferred out of Interior and merged into the newly established Veterans Administration.

📷: Bureau of Pensions pin badge, INTR 03241

🇺🇸 Each year in conjunction with Veterans Day, the Interior Museum places ribbons alongside the official portraits of U....
11/10/2020

🇺🇸 Each year in conjunction with Veterans Day, the Interior Museum places ribbons alongside the official portraits of U.S. Department of the Interior secretaries who are veterans of U.S. armed forces. Follow this link for a thread featuring their portraits and details of their service:
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1326230334288097280.html

#VeteransDay #DOIVeterans #ArchivesHashtagParty #ArchivesVeterans

Happy #NationalBisonDay! In addition to being our national mammal, the bison has long been a symbol of the U.S. Departme...
11/07/2020

Happy #NationalBisonDay! In addition to being our national mammal, the bison has long been a symbol of the U.S. Department of the Interior and appears in art and architectural details throughout our main headquarters building in Washington, DC. Let's take a #BisonTour to explore: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1325158257120473089.html

📷: Detail from painted mural, "Buffalo Chase," 1940, by Pueblo artist Velino Herrera at the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building.

We remain closed to public access due to COVID-19 precautions, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy! As part of ou...
11/06/2020

We remain closed to public access due to COVID-19 precautions, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy! As part of our gallery expansion, we're having 6 new display cases installed. They'll be state-of-the-art but will also retain some of the historic design elements from when the museum opened in 1938.

10/31/2020
Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Interior Museum! May your evening be filled with treats, not tricks!

🎃 Happy Halloween from the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum! We didn't dress up this year but instead are throwing...
10/31/2020

🎃 Happy Halloween from the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum! We didn't dress up this year but instead are throwing it back to share some of our staff's museum-inspired creative costumes from years past!

Did someone say #BatWeek? 🦇 We showcase our #batitude year-round by having these models of northern long-eared bats in o...
10/30/2020

Did someone say #BatWeek? 🦇 We showcase our #batitude year-round by having these models of northern long-eared bats in our #PeopleLandWater exhibition as examples of how several U.S. Department of the Interior bureaus have worked to protect these important pollinators.

Only a week remains to get your U.S. Department of the Interior Museum internship application in by November 1st! For mo...
10/26/2020

Only a week remains to get your U.S. Department of the Interior Museum internship application in by November 1st! For more info on this 640-hour, paid internship opportunity, visit http://ow.ly/HVaf50BTtvd

#BehindTheScenesOur expanded gallery space is being outfitted with 6 state-of-the-art display cases! Upon completion, th...
10/17/2020

#BehindTheScenes

Our expanded gallery space is being outfitted with 6 state-of-the-art display cases! Upon completion, they not only will have 21st-century functionality but also some of the same historic, architectural details as the cases that originally graced the Interior Museum when it opened in the 1930s.

Last month, our staff visited the case fabricators for a progress inspection. Because two of the cases will be very large, it's critical for future exhibits that these cases' platforms can accommodate and structurally bear the weight of a person working to install museum objects. Here's our chief curator testing out that feature…success!

Our #ObjectoftheMonth is this large, bronze Department of the Interior official seal, 42 inches in diameter (INTR 07775)...
10/15/2020

Our #ObjectoftheMonth is this large, bronze Department of the Interior official seal, 42 inches in diameter (INTR 07775). It was inset as a floor medallion in the lobby of the government building that still stands at the corner of 18th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. The building was constructed in 1932 by and for the U.S. Public Health Service and its Surgeon General. After many interim uses, staff associated with the Interior's U.S. Indian Affairs (BIA) moved into the building in April 1965, and the facility became known as the South Interior Building (SIB). When the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) was created in 1977, its headquarters joined BIA at the SIB.

The Interior concluded its GSA lease of the SIB in 2017, and BIA and OSMRE employees relocated to the Main Interior Building a block away. With the former SIB now re-leased to a new government tenant and undergoing extensive renovations, Interior Museum staff sought to obtain this floor medallion as a tangible reminder of the Interior's long history in the SIB. Coordination with GSA, Interior's Office of Facilities and Administrative Services, and construction contractors resulted in the medallion's careful extraction from the floor and transport to our collection in early September. The seal itself has design elements to suggest it had been repurposed from the late 1920s or early 1930s; it features a bison in left profile but with its head turned to face the viewer.

Address

1849 C St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20240

Take the orange or blue line to the Farragut West metro station. Exit on 18th Street and walk 5 blocks south.

General information

Closed Federal holidays

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 16:30
Tuesday 08:30 - 16:30
Wednesday 08:30 - 16:30
Thursday 08:30 - 16:30
Friday 08:30 - 16:30

Telephone

(202) 208-4743

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Comments

My time interning at the Department of the Interior was one of the best experiences of my career! I can’t believe this was 6 years ago!
FROM 1994 democratic elections in south Africa to 100th birthday of Mr Mandela
It would be cool to see folks from the Harpers Ferry Center come down to the museum to present on their design work!
What are your programs in CA?