The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum presents a new temporary exhibit, “Imagining the Southwest: Art of the Santa Fe,” on display until May 31, 2014. This exhibit explores how the Santa Fe Railway used art to shape and define its company image, while creating interest in the landscapes and cultures of the American Southwest. The exhibit highlights lithographic prints, calendars, posters, brochures, and advertisements from the Museum’s archive and permanent collections.
The Santa Fe was one of the first and most active collectors of Western Art in the opening decades of the twentieth century. The Santa Fe acted as a patron to many artists who were working in the American West. The railroad used its artwork collection to entice travelers to explore an exotic landscape and travel on its lines through the Southwest. The Santa Fe created its corporate identity around imagery of the Southwest, using related designs and artwork on everything from the company’s logo to its timetables, station design, dining car menus, and advertising campaigns.
The exhibit was curated by Angela McCleaf, the museum’s curator.“The history of the railroads includes much more than just what moved down the tracks. This exhibit gives our visitors a chance to see some the objects from our collections and archives that don’t get highlighted in our main exhibits,” said McCleaf. “I was amazed at the aggressiveness of this advertising campaign and to see how the Santa Fe set out to design a new corporate image through this artwork.”
The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is located at 315 W. Avenue B in downtown Temple, Texas, and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. For more information about the exhibit, museum hours and admission, please call 254.298.5172.