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Tourists

Smithsonian American Art Museum

smoking tourists

National Museum of American History
Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. (1862–1932) used a wide variety of printing processes, printing out some negatives in more than one medium. In his lectures, he pointed out that this approach to photography was important because in the hands of a photographer who “lives and understands the infinitely varied moods of nature, photography can be made to express and interpret them.” In correspondence with Dr. Olmstead at the Smithsonian, as the presentation of his gifts and bequest to the museum was being arranged, Eickemeyer wrote: “The collection illustrates the use of every important process and will, I believe, be of real educational value.”

The first of the Eickemeyer photographic collection came to the National Museum’s Department of Arts and Industries (the “Castle”), Division of Graphic Arts in 1922 at the close of a large exhibition of Eickemeyer’s work at the Anderson Gallery in New York. It was a gift from the photographer of five framed prints from the New York show that he considered representative of his work.

In 1929, Eickemeyer gave the Smithsonian 83 framed prints (including copies of the prints that he had previously given the museum), 15 portfolios, his medals and awards, and several miscellaneous photographic paraphernalia. In 1930, he made a will bequeathing most of his remaining prints, negatives, photographic equipment and other objects relating to his 30-year career as a photographer to the Smithsonian Institution.

Upon Eickemeyer’s death in 1932, an accession consisting primarily of photographic equipment from his studio came to the Smithsonian. Included in the bequest were 2 cameras, several lenses, scales, timers, printing frames, plate holders, dry mounters and a lecture case with slide projector and hand-colored lantern slides. Also included were 43 albums, journals and portfolios and assorted negatives and contact prints, many marked “discards.” There are 58 albums, notebooks and portfolios in the collection. Eickemeyer requested in his will that his gifts and bequests be called The Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. Collection.

Not recommended for Tourists

National Museum of American History

Ruins at Pompeii with Tourists

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tourists Waiting for Apollo Launch

National Air and Space Museum
Tourists Waiting for Apollo Launch. A group of five or six people sits on the ground in an arc as they wait to watch the Apollo launch. A black car is parked in the background. The surrounding landscape is flat and simple, and the rough brushstrokes give it and impressionistic feel. The colors are mostly muted except for the white clothing on some of the people. A blue ocean is visible in the distance along the horizon.

The spring of 1962 was a busy time for the men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. On February 20, John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. For the first time since the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the U.S. was positioned to match and exceed Soviet achievements in space. NASA was an agency with a mission -- to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge of sending human beings to the moon and returning them safely to earth by the end of the decade. Within a year, three more Mercury astronauts would fly into orbit. Plans were falling into place for a follow-on series of two-man Gemini missions that would set the stage for the Apollo voyages to the moon.

In early March 1962, artist Bruce Stevenson brought his large portrait of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space, to NASA headquarters.(1) James E. Webb, the administrator of NASA, assumed that the artist was interested in painting a similar portrait of all seven of the Mercury astronauts. Instead, Webb voiced his preference for a group portrait that would emphasize "…the team effort and the togetherness that has characterized the first group of astronauts to be trained by this nation." More important, the episode convinced the administrator that "…we should consider in a deliberate way just what NASA should do in the field of fine arts to commemorate the …historic events" of the American space program.(2)

In addition to portraits, Webb wanted to encourage artists to capture the excitement and deeper meaning of space flight. He imagined "a nighttime scene showing the great amount of activity involved in the preparation of and countdown for launching," as well as paintings that portrayed activities in space. "The important thing," he concluded, "is to develop a policy on how we intend to treat this matter now and in the next several years and then to get down to the specifics of how we intend to implement this policy…." The first step, he suggested, was to consult with experts in the field, including the director of the National Gallery of Art, and the members of the Fine Arts Commission, the arbiters of architectural and artistic taste who passed judgment on the appearance of official buildings and monuments in the nation's capital.

Webb's memo of March 16, 1962 was the birth certificate of the NASA art program. Shelby Thompson, the director of the agency's Office of Educational Programs and Services, assigned James Dean, a young artist working as a special assistant in his office, to the project. On June 19, 1962 Thompson met with the Fine Arts Commission, requesting advice as to how "…NASA should develop a basis for use of paintings and sculptures to depict significant historical events and other activities in our program."(3)

David E. Finley, the chairman and former director of the National Gallery of Art, applauded the idea, and suggested that the agency should study the experience of the U.S. Air Force, which had amassed some 800 paintings since establishing an art program in 1954. He also introduced Thompson to Hereward Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art.

An imposing bear of a man standing over six feet tall, Lester Cooke was a graduate of Yale and Oxford, with a Princeton PhD. The son of a physics professor and a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Forces, he was both fascinated by science and felt a personal connection to flight. On a professional level, Cooke had directed American participation in international art competitions and produced articles and illustrations for the National Geographic Magazine. He jumped at the chance to advise NASA on its art program.

While initially cautious with regard to the time the project might require of one of his chief curators, John Walker, director of the National Gallery, quickly became one of the most vocal supporters of the NASA art initiative. Certain that "the present space exploration effort by the United States will probably rank among the more important events in the history of mankind," Walker believed that "every possible method of documentation …be used." Artists should be expected "…not only to record the physical appearance of the strange new world which space technology is creating, but to edit, select and probe for the inner meaning and emotional impact of events which may change the destiny of our race." He urged quick action so that "the full flavor of the achievement …not be lost," and hoped that "the past held captive" in any paintings resulting from the effort "will prove to future generations that America produced not only scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but also artists worthy to keep them company."(4)

Gordon Cooper, the last Mercury astronaut to fly, was scheduled to ride an Atlas rocket into orbit on May 15, 1963. That event would provide the ideal occasion for a test run of the plan Cooke and Dean evolved to launch the art program. In mid-February, Cooke provided Thompson with a list of the artists who should be invited to travel to Cape Canaveral to record their impressions of the event. Andrew Wyeth, whom the curator identified as "the top artist in the U.S. today," headed the list. When the time came, however, Andrew Wyeth did not go to the Cape for the Cooper launch, but his son Jamie would participate in the program during the Gemini and Apollo years.

The list of invited artists also included Peter Hurd, Andrew Wyeth's brother-in-law, who had served as a wartime artist with the Army Air Force; George Weymouth, whom Wyeth regarded as "the best of his pupils"; and John McCoy, another Wyeth associate. Cooke regarded the next man on the list, Robert McCall, who had been running the Air Force art program, as "America's top aero-space illustrator. Paul Calle and Robert Shore had both painted for the Air Force program. Mitchell Jamieson, who had run a unit of the Navy art program during WW II, rounded out the program. Alfred Blaustein was the only artist to turn down the invitation.

The procedures that would remain in place for more than a decade were given a trial run in the spring of 1963. The artists received an $800 commission, which had to cover any expenses incurred while visiting a NASA facility where they could paint whatever interested them. In return, they would present their finished pieces, and all of their sketches, to the space agency. The experiment was a success, and what might have been a one-time effort to dispatch artists to witness and record the Gordon Cooper flight provided the basis for an on-going, if small-scale, program. By the end of 1970, Jim Dean and Lester Cooke had dispatched 38 artists to Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches and to other NASA facilities.

The art program became everything that Jim Webb had hoped it would be. NASA artists produced stunning works of art that documented the agency's step-by-step progress on the way to the moon. The early fruits of the program were presented in a lavishly illustrated book, Eyewitness to Space (New York: Abrams, 1971). Works from the collection illustrated NASA publications and were the basis for educational film strips aimed at school children. In 1965 and again in 1969 the National Gallery of Art mounted two major exhibitions of work from the NASA collection. The USIA sent a selection of NASA paintings overseas, while the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service created two exhibitions of NASA art that toured the nation.

"Since we …began," Dean noted in a reflection on the tenth anniversary of the program, the art initiative had resulted in a long string of positive "press interviews and reports, congressional inquiries, columns in the Congressional Record, [and] White House reports." The NASA effort, he continued, had directly inspired other government art programs. "The Department of the Interior (at least two programs), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Army and even the Veterans Administration have, or are starting, art programs." While he could not take all of the credit, Dean insisted that "our success has encouraged other agencies to get involved and they have succeeded, too."(5)

For all of that, he noted, it was still necessary to "defend" the role of art in the space agency. Dean, with the assistance of Lester Cooke, had been a one-man show, handling the complex logistics of the program, receiving and cataloguing works of art, hanging them himself in museums or on office walls, and struggling to find adequate storage space. In January 1976, a NASA supervisor went so far as to comment that: "Mr. Dean is far too valuable in other areas to spend his time on the relatively menial …jobs he is often burdened with in connection with the art program."(6) Dean placed a much higher value on the art collection, and immediately recommended that NASA officials either devote additional resources to the program, or get out of the art business and turn the existing collection over the National Air and Space Museum, "where it can be properly cared for."(7)

In January 1974 a new building for the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was taking shape right across the street from NASA headquarters. Discussions regarding areas of cooperation were already underway between NASA officials and museum director Michael Collins, who had flown to the moon as a member of the Apollo 11 crew. Before the end of the year, the space agency had transferred its art collection to the NASM. Mike Collins succeeded in luring Jim Dean to the museum, as well.

The museum already maintained a small art collection, including portraits of aerospace heroes, an assortment of 18th and 19th century prints illustrating the early history of the balloon, an eclectic assortment of works portraying aspects of the history of aviation and a few recent prizes, including several Norman Rockwell paintings of NASA activity. With the acquisition of the NASA art, the museum was in possession of one of the world's great collections of art exploring aerospace themes. Jim Dean would continue to build the NASM collection as the museum's first curator of art. Following his retirement in 1980, other curators would follow in his footsteps, continuing to strengthen the role of art at the NASM. Over three decades after its arrival, however, the NASA art accession of 2,091 works still constitutes almost half of the NASM art collection.

(1) Stevenson's portrait is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum (1981-627)

(2) James E. Webb to Hiden Cox, March 16, 1962, memorandum in the NASA art historical collection, Aeronautics Division, National air and Space Museum. Webb's preference for a group portrait of the astronauts was apparently not heeded. In the end, Stevenson painted an individual portrait of John Glenn, which is also in the NASM collection (1963-398).

(3) Shelby Thompson, memorandum for the record, July 6, 1962, NASA art historical collection, NASA, Aeronautics Division.

(4) John Walker draft of a talk, March 5, 1965, copy in NASA Art historical collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(5) James Dean, memorandum for the record, August 6, 1973, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(6) Director of Planning and Media Development to Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(7) James Dean to the Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, copy in NASA Art history Collection, Aeronautics Division, NASM.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

July 26, 2007

Italy to Limit Tourists to Cinque Terre

Smithsonian Magazine

Last year 2.5 million tourists made their way down the steep winding trails to Cinque Terre—the five picturesque fishing villages perched on the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea.

The centuries-old towns and their colorful buildings, which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, have become a popular destination for cruise ships and bus tours. The impact of the booming tourist trade has transformed the picturesque backwater into crowded towns overwhelmed with tourists, and it's having a deleterious effect on the scenic Ligurian site.

Now, Italy's government has come up with a plan to slash the number of tourists by at least a million visitors in the years to come through a new ticketing system. As The Guardian reported, hopeful visitors will soon have to purchase tickets to visit the historic towns in advance. The roads that lead to the villages will also be outfitted with meters to gauge the number of tourists. Once the villages reach a set number of visitors, access to Cinque Terre will be cut off.

Tourist officials are developing an app for tourists that will reveal which villages are over-crowded to hopefully direct visitors to less crowded locales.

"We will certainly be criticized for this," Vittorio Alessandro, president of the Cinque Terre National Park, told Italian newspaper la Repubblica. "But for us it is a question of survival."

Other articles from Travel + Leisure:

Five Other Destinations That Currently Limit Visitors:

Kilauea's Toxic Fog Threatens Nearby Tourists

Smithsonian Channel
Following the eruption of Kilauea, a toxic fog known as a laze forces the Coast Guard to declare a coastal safety zone. But will the scores of tourist boats in the bay heed their warning? From the Show: Volcanoes: Dual Destruction http://bit.ly/2TUWGYs

Tourists Are Getting Too Close to Volcanoes

Smithsonian Magazine

There’s been a lot of volcanic activity in the news in 2018: Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano had its largest eruption in decades, the Mayon volcano in the Philippines forced mass evacuations, and Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego has erupted several times this year, killing almost 200 people. Despite the dangers, a new study suggests humanity's fear of volcanoes may be waning and a dangerous number of volcano tourists are getting a little too close to the bubbling calderas.

Sean Coughlan at the BBC reports that in recent years more and more people have put themselves in danger with risky behavior near volcanoes, putting more pressure on local authorities and placing rescuers in dangerous situations. There are several reasons why people want to feel the heat and rumbling magma in an active volcano, according to the new report published in the journal Geo.

In general, attitudes toward nature that began in the Enlightenment and Romantic periods have grown stronger; instead of seeing nature as a wild, dangerous place to be avoided, people want to see and experience the world’s wonders first hand, writes study author and geographer Amy Donovan of the University of Cambridge.

Geotourism and volcano tourism are a part of that. As a result, many of these activities have become “commodified,” with tour companies flying helicopters close to volcanoes or offering hiking tours to the caldera rim even if the activity isn’t completely safe.

Donovan conducted surveys of tourist and tour operators in Iceland where the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on the island nation set off a volcano tourism boom over the last decade. The results indicate that social media is also pushing people to the edge of the volcano as well.

Between 2010 and 2017, foreign tourism to Iceland jumped from 488,622 to 2,224,074 visits per year. The majority of people visited the island to experience the natural world and the island’s active volcanoes.

“People reported being very keen to get close and experience the eruptions—to feel the heat and the gas and to hear the noises,” Donovan tells Oscar Quine at The Telegraph. “But there’s also a drive to get that photo that no one else has got—and to represent yourself as a person who's doing interesting things and having exciting times.”

That quest for the perfect snapshot, she says, is causing people to ignore safety regulations, push closer to the lava flows and even enter restricted areas. Quine reports Instagram is full of questionable photos of people sipping champagne on volcano rims or dangling over the edge wearing heat suits. Then there are the volcanophiles, obsessive lava lovers who chase erupting volcanoes across the world trying to get as close as possible.

So far, volcano tourism hasn’t led to many fatalities, though Donovan says people are injured by flying rock and hot gases. Just this summer, lava bombs from Kilauea injured 23 people on a sightseeing boat with one rock chunk breaking a woman’s leg.

Tourism can also be problematic in emergency situations. When a volcano begins to show signs of erupting, authorities have to deal with tourists trying to get closer to the volcano while also trying to evacuate people who need to get out.

“People break safety regulations. You can't police the site of a volcano at night,” Donovan tells Coughlan at the BBC. “Many active volcanic countries face the dilemma of wanting tourists, but also wanting to keep people safe, which creates a difficult conundrum.”

Tourists in Italy [art work] / (photographed by Walter Rosenblum)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Harry Gottlieb papers, Archives of American Art, 1910-1982.

1 photographic print : b&w, 8 x 10 in.

1 negative ; 4 x 5 in.

Tourists on the beach, Mombasa, Kenya. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for American Broadcasting Company and traveled to Africa from early December 1966 to early February 1967.

Tourists in Hawaii Accidentally Discovered Ancient Petroglyphs

Smithsonian Magazine

Watching the sunset from a beach in Hawaii is a memorable experience for anyone. But for most people, the moment doesn’t include stumbling on a set of petroglyphs. But that's what happened last month to a couple of Texan tourists visiting island.

As the sun was setting, Lonnie Watson and Mark Louviere were walking on the sand when they spied a large figure carved into the soft rock beneath the sand. “For some reason there was a beam of light…just a beam…it landed right on one of them and for some reason I just turned my head,” Watson said in a statement.

After a brief investigation, they discovered a set of large petroglyphs stretching 60 feet down the beach, Eileen Kinsella reports for artnet News. The humanoid figures were up to five feet in length, and were likely carved by native Hawaiians over 400 years ago.

Local archaeologists have long known about petroglyphs carved near Hawaii’s beaches, but this is the first set to have been discovered directly on the beach that Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has been alerted to. After archaeologists working with DLNR investigated Watson and Louviere’s findings, they uncovered a total 17 figures covering nearly 60 percent of the beach, Hawaii News Now reports.

“What’s exciting for me, is I grew up coming to this beach and now as an archaeologist working for the Army, helping to manage this site, we discovered these petroglyphs that have never been recorded,” Army archaeologist Alton Exzabe says in a statement.

(Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

According to the DLNR, the carvings were likely made by native Hawaiians living along the Waianae coast. While it’s likely that people have come across them before, this is the first time that officials have recorded them. Now, the DLNR is working to safeguard the site from curious visitors while experts continue to study the carved figures.

“They record our genealogy and religion,” Glen Kila, a lineal descendent of the aboriginal families that first settled the coast, says in a statement. “It’s very important to know about the lineal descendants of the area and their understanding of these petroglyphs. The interpretation of these petroglyphs can only be interpreted by the lineal descendants who are familiar with its history and culture.”

The petroglyphs have already sunk back beneath the sand, but officials are warning curious visitors to keep their hands off the fragile carvings the next time that they appear, as even the act of scraping or brushing the carvings can damage the delicate sandstone, Kinsella writes.

So if you go to check out the seaside petroglyphs, just remember to look, not touch.

Editor's Note: August 12, 2016: This piece incorrectly identified the identity of Lonnie Watson and the location of the petroglyphs at the beach. We regret the errors.

(Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

American tourists, Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, [negative]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Index card based on photographer's notes.

During his trip to Egypt, Elisofon visited Jīzah, Ahrāmāt al-, the site of three pyramids from the 4th dynasty (ca. 2613-ca. 2494), built on a rocky plateau near al-Jizah (Giza); one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; built by kings Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) & Menkaure (Mycerinus). [The J. P. Getty Fund: Thesaurus of Geographical Names]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for American Institute of Architects, directing the Egyptian portion of the documentary on Ancient Egypt, March 1965 and September 1965.

American tourists, Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, [negative]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Index card based on photographer's notes.

During his trip to Egypt, Elisofon visited Jīzah, Ahrāmāt al-, the site of three pyramids from the 4th dynasty (ca. 2613-ca. 2494), built on a rocky plateau near al-Jizah (Giza); one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; built by kings Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) & Menkaure (Mycerinus). [The J. P. Getty Fund: Thesaurus of Geographical Names]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for American Institute of Architects, directing the Egyptian portion of the documentary on Ancient Egypt, March 1965 and September 1965.

American tourists. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, [negative]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Index card based on photographer's notes.

During his trip to Egypt, Elisofon visited Jīzah, Ahrāmāt al-, the site of three pyramids from the 4th dynasty (ca. 2613-ca. 2494), built on a rocky plateau near al-Jizah (Giza); one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; built by kings Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) & Menkaure (Mycerinus). [The J. P. Getty Fund: Thesaurus of Geographical Names]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for American Institute of Architects, directing the Egyptian portion of the documentary on Ancient Egypt, March 1965 and September 1965.

American tourists. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, [negative]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Index card based on photographer's notes.

During his trip to Egypt, Elisofon visited Jīzah, Ahrāmāt al-, the site of three pyramids from the 4th dynasty (ca. 2613-ca. 2494), built on a rocky plateau near al-Jizah (Giza); one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; built by kings Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) & Menkaure (Mycerinus). [The J. P. Getty Fund: Thesaurus of Geographical Names]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for American Institute of Architects, directing the Egyptian portion of the documentary on Ancient Egypt, March 1965 and September 1965.

Tourists in Florence, Italy [painting] / (photographed by Walter Rosenblum)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Harry Gottlieb papers, Archives of American Art, 1910-1982.

1 photographic print : b&w, 8 x 10 in.

1 negative ; 4 x 5 in.

When Both Tourists and Protestors Go Coco-nutty

National Postal Museum
By Ren Cooper Katie and her coconut. Each stamp was chosen with care. In 2015, Katie Burke, a museum specialist at the National Postal Museum, vacationed in Hawaii. During her time in Molokai, she made sure to mail herself a coconut. That’s right–a coconut. In theory, anything with proper postage and a legible address will be delivered by the United States Postal Service, with the exception of dangerous or illegal items. In fact, the history of mailing coconuts is rich and varied. Coconuts have primarily been sent as novel versions of postcards from tropical lands. However, there are several interesting...

In a Few Small Countries, Tourists Massively Outnumber Locals

Smithsonian Magazine

The Telegraph has created a map that shows places in the world where the annual number of international visitors is greater than the population of the country. France might have been the world's most visited country in 2013, but it cannot compete on tourist-to-population ratio with places like the Vatican, where the percentage of the population made up of tourists a whopping 650,655.46 percent.

From the Telegraph:

At the other end of the scale you find Bangladesh (just 0.003 tourists per head, or 0.29 % of the population), with India and Pakistan (both 0.005) not far behind. India’s presence here - attracting less than 1 per cent of tourists compared to visitors - is perhaps the most surprising. It may have received more than six and a half million tourists in 2012 but its population of more than 1.2 billion dwarfs its visitor numbers.

The rule of thumb seems to be that small countries top this list. The Vatican makes sense; a religious center with only 846 citizens, it attracts millions of pilgrims each year. But just being small isn't enough: while countries with small populations (like many of the Caribbean island nations) are much more susceptible to being overrun by tourists, some were much more overrun than others. 

To attract enough tourists to overwhelm its population, a country needs something special to attract them. Andorra, for instance, came in second only to the Vatican in terms of tourist percentage, with 2,856 percent more tourists than inhabitants. Situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees, this tiny country is renowned for its skiing. It only has one town, but has over one shop for every 40 people that live there. Croatia, which has 243 precent more tourists each year than citizens, has miles of beaches and thousand or so islands.) It’s also where part of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones was filmed.)

But sometimes it's not so clear what the attraction is. Estonia, located on the Baltic Sea, doesn’t have the temperate climate or huge mountains of the other European hot spots, but it gets more than 200% more tourists per year than its population of 1,339,396. It has a lot of history and some beautiful scenery—but what European country doesn't?

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