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Hoover Dam Photo Exhibit to Open at the Branigan Cultural Center

A new exhibit, The Building of the Hoover Dam: Photographs by Winthrop A. Davis, 1930 to 1934, will open in March at the Branigan Cultural Center. Dr. James Hester will introduce the exhibit, with opening remarks at 4:30pm on Friday, March 7, immediately preceding the monthly First Friday Downtown Arts Ramble and opening reception for the exhibit.

This exhibit includes 24 photographs with commentary by the photographer. Subjects include job seekers camped in the desert in Ragtown; Boulder City housing; the Six Companies reservation; boat tours to the dam site; the High Scalers; and nightlife in Las Vegas – Sin City. In conjunction with the exhibit, we will present the DVD American Experience: Hoover Dam, part of the 1930s Collection.

As a free-lance photographer, Winthrop Davis made contributions to the contractors R. G. Le Tourneau Construction Co., Lewis Construction Co., Six Companies Inc.; to newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Salt Lake Tribune; to magazines including Electrical West, Construction Methods, Ingersol Rand Magazine, Southern Engineer, Marion Steam Shovel Magazine & Reclamation Magazine, Excavating Engineer; and to the press including International News, Globe News, and the Associated Press.

Winthrop Davis documented the people connected with the Hoover Dam construction, providing a window into this challenging project. The talk will place the photographic essay into historical, social, and personal context. Dr. Hester will provide insight into Davis’ career and will give the audience an insider’s look at the photographs. He will show additional images that did not make it into the exhibit, due to space considerations.

The exhibit was organized by the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society, now known as Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, with assistance from Dr. James and Adrienne Hester, Davis’s son-in-law and daughter, and with support from the University of Colorado Council on Research and Creative Work. Dr. Hester is currently a Senior Consulting Archaeologist with Walker Research Group, Ltd. He is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Colorado.

The Branigan Cultural Center is located at 501 North Main Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. For more information, contact the Branigan Cultural Center at (575) 541-2154 or visit the Center’s website at

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