New exhibit at UO museum uses 'Atlas' to tell Yellowstone story

Exhibit opening April 4 at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History showcases the maps and imagery from the 'Atlas of Yellowstone'

WH Jackson photo shows artist Thomas Moran at Mammoth Hot Springs, 1871EUGENE, Ore. — (April 1, 2014) — A new exhibition showcasing the "Atlas of Yellowstone" opens Friday, April 4, at the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH).

The exhibition will highlight maps and other imagery from the "Atlas of Yellowstone," a comprehensive reference published in 2012 and devoted to the world's first national park. The vision of the atlas came from a class project in the UO's Department of Geography that blossomed into a collaboration involving the UO, National Park Service, Yellowstone-area universities and federal private agencies.

The exhibition, a joint project of the museum and the geography department's InfoGraphics Lab, kicks off with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, at the museum, 1680 E. 15th Ave. The reception is open to the public. Admission is free.

James Meacham"What makes the atlas unique is that it brings together such a broad range of diverse stories — from the restoration of bison herds to the dynamics of the Yellowstone volcano — and makes them accessible through visually-appealing maps and graphics," said James Meacham, InfoGraphics Lab executive director and exhibit curator.

Meacham co-edited the volume with W. Andrew Marcus, UO geography professor and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Ann Rodman, Yellowstone's branch chief for physical resources and climate science; and UO cartographic project manager Alethea Steingisser. The editors will be at the museum for a book signing during the reception.  

The exhibit includes large-scale maps, art and video, as well as the skull of the largest bison on record — Old Tex, who was shot and killed by a Yellowstone park superintendent in 1926. It also explores Yellowstone's importance, its dynamic landscapes and natural diversity, and the environmental and human interactions that continue to shape the region.

Among the displays will be reproductions of paintings by Thomas Moran and photographs by William Henry Jackson. Both artists were members of a U.S. Geological Survey expedition into Yellowstone during the late 19th century.

"Moran and Jackson helped to convey the region's distinctiveness to a broad public audience, which helped inspire the effort to designate Yellowstone as a national park," said Ann Craig, interim director of public programs at the MNCH. "Rich with imagery, history, and scientific data, the 'Atlas of Yellowstone' continues to tell Yellowstone's story in ways that capture the imagination."

Meacham and Steingisser also will give a free gallery talk at 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 11, at at the museum. Their illustrated talk, "Telling the Yellowstone Story," will explore the features of Yellowstone that helped lead to its designation as a national park. The talk is open to the public.

About the Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is a center of interdisciplinary research and education, serving the global research community, the University of Oregon, K-12 students and educators, and the wider public in Oregon and beyond. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Media Contact: Kristin Strommer, UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 541-346-5083,

Source: James Meacham, UO Department of Geography, 541-346-5788,

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with a point-of-origin Vyvx connection, which provides broadcast-quality video to networks worldwide via fiber optic network. In addition, there is video access to satellite uplink, and audio access to an ISDN codec for broadcast-quality radio interviews.