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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

John Wesley Powell: From Bloomington-Normal to the Grand Canyon and Beyond!

Saturday, September 7
Starts at 1:15 PM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

John Wesley Powell: From Bloomington-Normal to the Grand Canyon and Beyond!

This year is the 150th anniversary of the explorer John Wesley Powell’s harrowing three-month expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon. On Saturday, September 7 at 1:15 p.m., Museum Librarian Bill Kemp will retrace that journey, looking back on Powell’s larger-than-life exploits. Kemp’s program will also touch upon Powell’s many and deep local connections—including those with Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State universities.

Though a somewhat forgotten figure in Illinois history, Powell is revered in the western United States–both as an explorer and as a prophetic voice urging the cautious development of the regions arid lands. In the east, his reputation rests with his leadership in helping to establish the modern federal science bureaucracy. From 1879 until his death, Powell headed the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology. Under his leadership that office organized the nation’s first systematic research into the lifeways of indigenous peoples. The Bureau’s annual reports and monographs were an indispensable record during a period of great cultural and linguistic extinction.

For more information about this free, public program, please contact the Education Department at or 309-827-0428.