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Posted on: May 13, 2016

16-023 Asahel Curtis historical photos on exhibit at Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

Hand-colored image of Deep Lake in Millersylvania State Park. Property of WA State Parks.

Exhibit runs from May 20 to Sept. 15

OLYMPIA – May 13, 2016 –Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces the opening of a new exhibit at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center featuring rare 1930s-era Asahel Curtis images.

The exhibit, titled “Washington State Parks Through the Lens of Asahel Curtis,” will be on display from May 20 to Sept.15 at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, 3029 Spirit Lake Hwy, Castle Rock, just across the highway from Seaquest State Park. (Directions:

An evening exhibit unveiling is scheduled for Friday, May 20, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with free admission. The Visitor Center’s doors will close at 5:15 p.m. A brief program introducing the exhibit will start promptly after.

The photographs, taken during the Great Depression, capture the early recreational use and development of Washington’s state park system. Many photographs show state parks under construction by crews from federal work relief programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The exhibit features some of Washington’s most cherished state parks, in addition to local state parks in the upper Cowlitz area, including Lewis and Clark, Millersylvania and the Jackson House Heritage Site.

Asahel Curtis (1874-1941) was among the most prominent photographers of the Pacific Northwest. He spent more than 40 years documenting the rapid transformation of Washington State that occurred during his lifetime. His photographs provide one of the most complete historic records of this period.

The photographs featured in the exhibit are from a unique type of media called lantern slides. Originally black and white photos, they were color-tinted by hand in Curtis’s Seattle studio. The slides were recently digitized and are in the care of the State Park’s Collections Program.

The exhibit was funded by revenues from the Washington State Parks specialty license plate, which are used exclusively towards state park education programs.

The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $2.50 for ages 7 to 17; $5 for ages 18 and older; $15 for families (two adults plus accompanying children) and free for children age 6 or younger. For more information about the exhibit, contact Alysa Adams, Parks Interpretive Specialist, (360) 274-0962 or

Learn more about the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center:

About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

Follow Washington State Parks:

Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at

Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit

Alysa Adams, (360) 274-0962
Toni Droscher, (360) 902-8604 
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388


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