Grand Canyon National Park Restores Century-Old Photo Studio

The Grand Canyon's historic Kolb Studio has been restored and turned into an art gallery.
The Grand Canyon's historic Kolb Studio has been restored and turned into an art gallery.David C Tomlinson / Lonely Planet Images / Getty

The Grand Canyon National Park is celebrating the restoration of its Kolb Studio this Saturday. The century-old photo studio-turned-art-gallery located on the edge of the South Rim was home to photography pioneers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. It will now serve as a full-time Grand Canyon art gallery.


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The renovation has been a two-year process, and included repairs such as stripping old paint, rebuilding four balconies, stabilizing concrete reinforcements, and rejuvenating the iconic log siding and cedar shingles. The project cost $400,000 and was paid for entirely by private donations. 

The reopening, which is being held on Saturday, will not only celebrate the new improvements to the Kolb Studio, but also commemorate its history. Built in 1904, the workspace was the home of the Kolb brothers, who sold photographs of tourists visiting the park. Known for their pioneering ways and love of documenting the area, the Kolbs lived in the studio for decades and produced priceless imagery of the park's early days. The brothers filmed themselves navigating the Colorado River in a 125-pound portable canvas boat in 1911, and have been widely credited with bringing national interest to the Grand Canyon.

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A portion of that film will be featured at Saturday's rededication, and Emery Kolb's great-granddaughter will be in attendance. The current exhibit will be open Saturday through September 8. For those who can't make the trip to the Canyon, there is a virtual tour of the exhibit available here

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