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.
- Some environmental campaigns sought to change the behavior of government agencies. As the world’s largest public engineering, design, and construction agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attracted broad-based criticism in the 1960s and thereafter for its aggressive program of dams and channel building. River advocates in particular were urged to “Keep Busy Fighting the Corps.”
- Currently not on view
- Rivercity Art
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History