Framing Nature: How Culture Shaped Crater Lake and the National Parks

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - 7:00pm

Older national parks such as Crater Lake are usually adorned with what Americans call "rustic architecture."  This type of design is really a window to the past, but also an indication of how European culture (and by extension, its "settler societies" such as the United States) have seen nature.  By literally "framing nature," it is turned into art, whether through landscape painting, photography, or by other means.  This has had significant consequences in places like the American West, where many "monumental" landscapes became "parks" and somehow indicative of how the nation viewed itself.  Rustic architecture, at Crater Lake for example, both enhances the view and blends into the scene much as the precedents set by English gardens or "pleasuring grounds."  If nothing else, the presentation puts "America's Best Idea" into context, forcing the audience to reassess what they think they know about a place less than a hundred miles from Medford.

                Stephen R. Mark has worked as the park historian at Crater Lake for the past 30 years.   Most of his research has focused on western settlement and public lands, especially where the larger conservation movement has effectively reserved parks, forests, coastlines, and desert landscapes for management as public estates.



Event Series: 

SOHS 21227 Crater Lake Phantom Ship