Two series of extremely rare photographs documenting a last look at a rapidly disappearing frontier are on view at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City through Jan. 11.
The exhibition, Across the Indian Country: Photographs by Alexander Gardner, 1867-68, includes photographs from two bodies of work created by Gardner, “Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad, 1867-68” and “Scenes in the Indian County, 1868”, which depict the transformation of the American West by the railroad and the subsequent effect it had on the American Indians in the region.
The survey photographs make up about half of the exhibition; the other half includes images taken during treaty negotiations between the Plains Indians and the Indian Peace Commission at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in 1868. Gardner photographed many of the chiefs from the Northern Plains tribes including Crow, Arapaho, Oglala, Minneconjous, Brule and Cheyenne. The images are a candid documentation of everyday Indian life, including Indian encampments, burial trees and peace proceedings.
Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak streets in Kansas City. Hours: Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday/Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For information, call 816-751-1278 or visit nelson-atkins.org.