After he began work at the Tennessee Department of Conservation in 1937, James L. Bailey crisscrossed the state, preaching the benefits of protecting our natural resources. Throughout his long career, he became such a widely-known advocate for proper use of land, development of parks and recreational areas, restoration of wildlife and protection of water sources that he was nicknamed “Mr. Conservation.” Also a talented photographer, he compiled an extensive collection of photographs.
Now part of that collection is available for public viewing as part of a new free exhibit at the Tennessee State Library & Archives. Bailey’s work is one of several collections featured in the exhibit. In addition to Bailey’s personal collection of photographs, the exhibit features many photos and postcards collected by the Department of Conservation through the years.
The exhibit highlights the beauty of Reelfoot Lake State Park, Montgomery Bell State Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, the Natchez Trace Parkway and Percy Warner Park. The exhibit also includes images of people enjoying the state’s parks and wilderness as well as a section devoted exclusively to wildlife.
“During the warm weather months, Tennesseans are anxious to get outdoors and enjoy the natural wonders of our state,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “This exhibit should raise awareness about our state’s many natural treasures. It may even give people some vacation ideas.”
The exhibit is in the lobby of the State Library & Archives building, which is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, just west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.
The library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., except for state holidays.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will remain available for viewing at least through Aug. 1.