The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
- This photograph of a blue ash tree is one of forty-nine framed black and white photographic prints bequeathed to the Smithsonian by William F. Bucher of Washington, D.C. The collection represents a labor of love for Bucher, a cabinetmaker, who framed each photograph in wood of the same species as the tree depicted in the print. Bucher explained the philosophy behind his collection in a 1931 letter to the Museum: "'Old World' trees have gathered about them so much folklore and poetry, I thought it would be interesting to show by pictures and wood, that many of our American trees have attained by their own merits, an equal right to a place in the 'hall of fame.'"
- The tree depicted in this photograph was located in Kentucky and the image was made by the United States Forest Service. The frame is solid ash. It was displayed with Bucher's other framed photographs of living trees in a special exhibition, Our Trees and their Woods at the United States National Museum in 1931. The collection stands as a romantic reminder of America's diverse forestry resources and landscapes in the early years of the 20th century.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- frame maker
- Bucher, William F.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forest Service
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- maker number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History