In the 1990s, National Park Service (NPS) commissioned Charley Harper, an American Modernist artist, to design 10 posters of wildlife. They wanted the art to capture the diversity of public lands in America; “from the lava flows of Hawaiian Volcanoes . . . to the icebergs of Glacier Bay, Alaska, . . . from the heights of the Rocky Mountains . . . to the depths of the Coral Reef.” Harper, an experienced traveler, drew inspiration from nature and used his unique style of minimal realism.
The poster with Hawaii’s volcanoes shows a typical volcanic eruption that destroys everything in its path but Harper also gives the audience multiple perspectives. Upon closer inspection, the art illustrates how life is created through a destructive force. The archipelago of Hawaii was formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The image of Hawaii that we know of today is a lush, tropical island with volcanoes. The greenery is direct result of volcanic soil which is rich in nutrients. “[The soil] are light and fluffy, low density and have remarkable water-holding capacity.” Another view is that lava is flowing into the ocean thus creating more land. The island of Hawaii, also known as Big Island, is continually growing and providing more habitats for life. Harper’s artistic style maybe minimalistic but is by no means simple.
Can you find multiple perspectives in the Rocky Mountains poster?
Several of the commissioned posters are available for purchase at the GPO Bookstore. The Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) is another GPO resource that can be used to discover Government posters. For example, the University of Iowa digitized Harper’s Glacier Bay poster, and it’s available through the CGP. The CGP can also be used to learn more about the extensive research Federal agencies have conducted about natural wonders in the U.S.
The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications
HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?
Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.
Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.
- Click here to purchase Hawaii Volcanoes (Small Poster)
- Click here to purchase Rocky Mountains (Small Poster)
- Click here to purchase Glacier Bay, Alaska (Poster)
- Click here to purchase Alpine Northwest (Poster)
- Click here to purchase Canyon Country (Large Poster)
- Click here to purchase Atlantic Barrier Islands (Large Poster)
- Click here to check out more Posters & Prints resources
Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).
Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800. Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov
Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.
Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.
About the author: Blogger contributor Vanathy Senthilkumar is a Systems Librarian at GPO.