By Brigham Young University
Jun 18, 2016

Work on the American Heritage Merit Badge at the BYU Museum of Art

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service

The Watchman, Zion National Park

Franz Bischoff (1864-1929); The Watchman, Zion National Park, Utah, c. 1928; oil on canvas, David Dee Fine Arts

The BYU Museum of Art exhibition, Capturing the Canyons: Artists in the National Parks, is helping the nation celebrate the 100th anniversary of The National Park Service! We invite you to visit us at the Museum of Art. Enthusiastic educators will provide special troop tours to assist Scouts in earning their American Heritage merit badge.

The National Park Service and Our American Heritage

Yellowstone Park, c. 1910 lithograph

Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949); Yellowstone Park, c. 1910; lithograph, National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park

An act of Congress creating the National Park Service was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.  In the last 100 years, this great organization has managed and protected more than 400 of America’s national parks, monuments, and historic sites.  Artists played an important role in helping many U.S. landmarks become the beloved national treasures of today.  In the late 19th century, folks throughout America marveled as they viewed adventurous artists’ first paintings and photographs of our nation’s breathtaking natural wonders.  People wanted to see these amazing lands for themselves. They also wanted to preserve and protect them for future generations.

Condor at the South Rim

Mark Knudsen b. 1946; Condor at the South Rim, c. 2010; Acrylic on canvas, 24×50″ Grand Canyon National Park Courtesy of Mark Knudsen

One of the goals of the National Park Service is to preserve our scenic lands from being altered by economic exploitation and industry.  The need to protect and preserve our resources is an important aspect of our American Heritage.  This organization—part of the U.S. Department of the Interior—is also designed to protect the wildlife in these areas, such as the great condor of Grand Canyon.  One of the rarest birds in the world, this largest land bird in North America has a wing span of 9 ½ feet!  About thirty years ago, the total population of condors was only 22 birds; but since then, a dramatic rescue program has been undertaken.  Today, many fortunate Grand Canyon visitors can glimpse this majestic bird soaring above them, now thriving once again.

Come Join Us!

We look forward to leading your Scouts through Capturing the Canyons, where they can experience a wide range of artistic perspectives showing the majestic lands that flourish under the care of our U.S. National Park Service.

“…It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”

– John F. Kennedy, President of the United States

In upcoming blog posts, we’ll share how we can help Scouts fulfill their Art and Photography merit badge requirements!  To schedule tours, please contact us at or 801-422-1140.

Enjoy reading more about the exhibition and related programming at

Author: Lynda Palma | Educator, BYU Museum of Art

Lynda PalmaBYU Museum of Art

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