Framed by Us!


August 16 – November 21, 2018
Rincliffe Gallery, Drexel Main Building, 3rd Floor


In 1867, the U.S. government funded four surveys — known as the “Four Great Surveys of the West” — to ultimately determine whether the area west of the Mississippi River (now Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Idaho) could be exploited for natural resources and used for further settlement. The crew members of these surveys created topographical maps, evaluated cultivation viability, collected specimens, gathered ethnological data and documented the landscape through photography and painting.

This exhibition focuses on the photographs of William Henry Jackson (1843–1942) and John K. Hillers (1843-1925) from this era that are in The Drexel Collection. William Henry Jackson and John K. Hillers were the designated photographers on expeditions that for eight years explored the regions in the west before they became famous national landmarks — or, indeed, before they even became national landmarks at all. The resulting photographs of trees, mountains, waterfalls showcased the broad, sweeping landscapes and the untouched nature and beauty of the American West.

The exhibition was designed and curated by art history major Nat Fry, '18 as part of his senior thesis with advisor Elizabeth Milroy, PhD, professor and director of the Department of Art & Art History in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.

The exhibition is on view August 16th through November 21st. The Gallery is free and open to the public.