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John Wesley Powell Experts

Join us in the Swaner Forum at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. and hear experts talk about the incredible legacy of John Wesley Powell.

Learn more about our presenters and their areas of expertise below. 


Subjects and Expert Bios

12:30 p.m. — Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell and the Colorado River by Roy Webb 

Powell's adventures on the Green and Colorado Rivers were the moon landings of their time.  He entered a region almost completely unknown, barely surviving to come out the other end.  Powell's experiences on the river, and the people he met along the way, laid the foundation for his later career as the "father of government science."

About Roy Webb

Born in Farmington, New Mexico, in October, 1952, Roy grew up on the bands of the San Juan and Animas Rivers, across the river from the Navajo Nation. Roy is an avid river runner, writer, and researcher. He has written four books and many articles on the history of river running in Utah and the Intermountain West. Check out the Museum Store where some of Webb's books are available. 

1:30 p.m. — Beyond the 100th Meridian: Making and Remaking the Western Landscape: 1873-1980 by Frederick Reuss

Get a preview of an exciting new exhibit being developed for the Smithsonian Museum of American Art which looks at Powell’s legacy from the perspective of artists who depicted the western landscape as Powell saw and explored it in his day and by subsequent generations of artists responding to the transformation of the western landscape during the 20th century.

About Frederick Reuss

Frederick Reuss is a writer, editor, and research consultant at the Smithsonian Institution, where he is currently program coordinator for the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. In his talk, Fred will preview an exhibit being developed for the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, which will look at Powell's legacy from the perspective of artists who depicted the western landscape as Powell saw and explored it in his day, and by subsequent generations of artists responding to the transformation of the western landscape during the 20th century.

3 p.m. — John Wesley Powell's Impact on Geology as a Science by David Malone

Best known for his Grand Canyon expeditions and service as the second Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Powell helped establish the National Geographic Society, the Geological Society of America, and taught at both Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State Normal University. In 1867, Professor took a group of students to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and the following year he and his surveying party were the first to ascend the 14,259’ Longs Peak. Field training of students remains fundamental to geologic education today and Powell paved the way.  

About David Malone

Dr. David Malone is a Distinguished Professor of Geology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. He is a native of East Moline, IL and graduated with his BS in Geology from Illinois State in 1988. He completed his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in structural geology and has been at Illinois State since August 1994. His research interests include the origin of the massive Heart Mountain slide, the provenance of sandstone using detrital zircon geochronogy, and three-dimensional geologic mapping in glaciated terranes.

 

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