Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests  to Host the Smokey Bear Historic Portrait Tour Exhibit
Trevan Pixley

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to Host the Smokey Bear Historic Portrait Tour Exhibit

KAMIAH, Idaho – The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are honored to host the Smokey Bear Historic Portrait Tour exhibit at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center from September 16 through September 29, 2019. The exhibit will be open for public viewing during regular business hours, daily from 7:30 am to 4:15 pm, Pacific Time. A special birthday celebration is scheduled for Saturday, September 21 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The family friendly celebration boasts numerous events including a fire ecology talk, lookout tower presentation and, of course, cake and a visit from Smokey Bear. A Facebook event has been created for the celebration.

On August 9, 2019 Smokey Bear celebrated 75 years at the forefront of the Forest Service’s wildfire prevention campaign. To commemorate contributions to the Forest Service and its wildfire prevention efforts, replicas of historic portraits by artist Rudolph Wendelin have been travelling to National Forests across the country.

Rudolf Wendelin worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1933 until his retirement in 1973. Mr. Wendelin created hundreds of Smokey representations that highlighted natural resource conservation and wildfire prevention. It is Wendelin’s more humanized representation of Smokey Bear that is commonly known today. Under his direction, Smokey assumed his ranger hat, jeans and shovel. The touring exhibit consists of 19 pieces of artwork from the National Agricultural Library.

The National Agriculture Library’s Special Collections houses rare books, manuscripts, nursery and seed catalogs, photographs and posters from the 1500s to the present. The Smokey Bear Collection at the National Agricultural Library consists of extensive material including posters, proofs, original artwork, motion pictures, sound recordings and memorabilia. Within this collection are the nineteen original Rudolph Wendelin paintings and two hand-painted replicas.

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