Meet­ing of the Rails

Joslyn Art Mu­seum cel­e­brates the 150th an­niver­sary of a rail­road mile­stone with a trav­el­ing photography ex­hi­bi­tion.

Western Art Collector - - WESTERN ART NEWS -

Anew photography ex­hi­bi­tion at the Joslyn Art Mu­seum in Omaha, Ne­braska, cel­e­brates 150 years since the meet­ing of two trains at Promon­tory Point, Utah, ef­fec­tively link­ing the West

Coast with the East Coast by rail. The Race to Promon­tory: The Transcon­ti­nen­tal Rail­road and the Amer­i­can West is a trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion that rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of the mo­men­tous event and cel­e­brates what it sig­ni­fied for the coun­try.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, which opens at Joslyn Art Mu­seum on Oc­to­ber 6, is a part­ner­ship be­tween the mu­seum, Union Pa­cific and also the Union Pa­cific Mu­seum in Coun­cil Bluffs, Iowa. The show will present pho­to­graphs and stere­ographs of An­drew Joseph Rus­sell and Al­fred A. Hart drawn ex­clu­sively from the Union Pa­cific His­toric Col­lec­tion. The images rep­re­sent the largest col­lec­tion in the world of orig­i­nal pho­to­graphs doc­u­ment­ing the con­struc­tion of the transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road be­tween 1866 and 1869.

The Race to Promon­tory fea­tures 50 framed Im­pe­rial plate al­bu­men prints by Rus­sell, in­clud­ing images from his al­bum,

The Great West Il­lus­trated, as well as rare, un­pub­lished prints from the Union Pa­cific Col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing Rus­sell’s fa­mous im­age from Promon­tory Sum­mit, East and West Shak­ing Hands. Also on dis­play are 108 stere­o­graph cards by Hart, along with two stere­o­graph view­ers that will al­low mu­seum visi­tors to view Hart and Rus­sell images in three di­men­sions.

High­light­ing the Joslyn in­stal­la­tion will also be the three orig­i­nal cer­e­mo­nial rail­road spikes that were pre­sented dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties at Promon­tory Sum­mit on May 10, 1869. Re­united for the first time in 150 years, the Gold Spike, the Sil­ver Spike, and the Ari­zona Spike were given to rail­road of­fi­cials to cel­e­brate the lay­ing of the last rail and have not been dis­played to­gether since that day. Two of the spikes, the Gold Spike and the Sil­ver Spike, are in the col­lec­tion of the Can­tor Mu­seum at Stan­ford Univer­sity, and the Ari­zona Spike is part of the col­lec­tions of the Mu­seum of the City of New York. The Joslyn leg of the ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ues through Jan­uary 6, 2019. It will then travel to the Utah Mu­seum of Fine Arts in

Salt Lake City and the Crocker

Art Mu­seum in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit

Al­fred A. Hart (1816-1908), Lo­co­mo­tive on Tres­tle, near Amer­i­can River, 1865, al­bu­men stere­o­graph. Cour­tesy Union Pa­cific Rail­road Mu­seum.

An­drew J. Rus­sell (1830-1902), East and West Shak­ing Hands at Lay­ing Last Rail, 1869, al­bu­men print. Cour­tesy Union Pa­cific Rail­road Mu­seum. The cer­e­mony spot­lighted Union Pa­cific lo­co­mo­tive No. 119 meet­ing Cen­tral Pa­cific lo­co­mo­tive Jupiter. From left, shak­ing hands, are Sa­muel S. Mon­tague, chief en­gi­neer of the Cen­tral Pa­cific Rail­road, and Gen­eral Grenville M. Dodge, chief en­gi­neer of the Union Pa­cific Rail­road.

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