Science Museum News

Science Museum Exhibits Photographs of Native American Sites in the Southwest

Springfield Science Museum

October 14, 2009

Stunning black and white photographs of ancient ruins in rugged deserts, caves, mesas and mountains will be on view at the Springfield Science Museum from October 17, 2009 through January 3, 2010, in the exhibition Sacred Places of the Southwest: Photographs by Claus Mroczynski.

Mroczynski was fascinated with the native peoples of North America, especially the ancient inhabitants of the American Southwest. His sensitivity and respect for these peoples and their homelands earned him access to hidden Native American sites in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.


The Sacred Places project began in the mid-1980s. Working in the field with a light-weight camera, Mroczynski visited sacred grounds in areas such as the Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Utah, Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Monarch Cave in Utah, and other remote places.


The German-born photographer settled in New York in 1974. During his frequent trips west, he studied with renowned photographers Ansel Adams, Wynne Bullock and Paul Caponigro at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park, California. Mroczynski died in 2006. His photographs are in the collections the Smithsonian Institution, the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, the Denver Art Museum and other institutions.


Native American baskets and ceramics from the Science Museum’s collection are also included in the exhibition. An accompanying publication titled Sacred Places of the Southwest is available for $70 in the Museum Store. The book contains 157 black and white images, approximately 80 of which are in the exhibition, with text and a biography of Claus Mroczynski.

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