The interior of LeConte Memorial Lodge features five interpretive displays
which are the masterwork of Sierra Club volunteer and professional designer,
Joseph LeConte Display
The first display features Joseph LeConte (1823-1901), the renowned geologist
and university professor. The LeConte Memorial Lodge was built in his honor.
This display tells the story of his life, beginning with his boyhood and youth
in Georgia and his coming west to teach at the fledgling University of California.
It was installed in 2001.
Joseph LeConte, like his close personal friend John Muir, is indelibly linked
to Yosemite. On his first visit to Yosemite in July 1870, Joseph Le Conte wrote
in his journal:
"I have heard and read much about this wonderful valley, but I can truly say
I have never imagined the grandeur of the reality."
As a scientist, Joseph LeConte validated the idea of the glacial origins of Yosemite
Valley as originally advanced by John Muir. In
1892, they joined forces with several like-minded friends to found the Sierra
For more information on Joseph LeConte, see our online Joseph
Leconte biography and the tribute to him in the 1896
Blue and Gold University of California Yearbook.
John Muir and the Sierra Club
The second display was installed at the beginning of the 2002 season. It features
the early history of the Sierra Club in Yosemite, including John Muir, the
battle for Hetch Hetchy, early exploration and trail-building, launch of the
Club's outings program, and John Muir's legacy of National Parks. The exhibit
tells how LeConte’s son, Joseph N. LeConte, explored, climbed, photographed,
and mapped much of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, and served the Sierra Club
for over fifty years. Of course, William
E. Colby is mentioned as well, as the founder of the Sierra Club’s Outings
program, and the recipient of the Club’s
first John Muir Award.
Left hand side of John Muir and Sierra Club display
Right hand side of John Muir and Sierra Club display
To Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
The third interpretive display in the LeConte Memorial was installed on July
This display tells of the contributions of the Sierra Club to America's national
parks movement and the environmental movement of the 20th century. Display
items include the building of the LeConte Memorial Lodge (several years before
Yosemite Valley became a part of Yosemite National Park,) and the early development
of mountaineering in the Sierra Club.
Early Sierra Club leaders and mountaineers are pictured, including Marion Randall
Parsons, Ansel Adams, and David Brower.
The display continues with the story of the 1960 This is the American Earth exhibit in LeConte Memorial and the first Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series book, which remain, alongside Rachel Carson's Silent Spring as a major inspiration for the modern environmental movement. The display concludes with a summary of some of the legislative victories of the latter part of the twentieth century, and is dedicated to 97 year-old Sierra Club activist Ed
Wayburn, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his efforts to protect wild Alaska and California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Climate Change Display
The Climate Change display, installed in 2009, heightens the awareness of visitors
to this issue of great importance to the Sierra Club and the National Park
Service. Despite its contemporary message, the display carries on the style
of the other three primary exhibits in LeConte memorial. Interactive features
include a "time machine" showing the increase of carbon dioxide over
the last 300 years, and a series of panels with informative photographs and
text in both English and Spanish. Special attention is given to climate change
in Yosemite, including melting glaciers and impact on Yosemite wildlife such
as the American Pika. The display offers solutions that can be understood and
embraced by the National Park Service, the Sierra Club, and individuals.
See more detail of the Climate Change Exhibit.
Joseph LeConte in Yosemite Photo Display
These historical photos have resided in LeConte Memorial Lodge for decades. In
May, 2006, they were refurbished by volunteer Exhibits creator George Pettit,
adding identifying information for each photo.
Centennial Wildflower Display
As a special Centennial project, the Sierra Club prepared
Exhibit to digitally re-create in 2004 the original 1907 wildflower
show held at the LeConte Memorial Lodge. This was on exhibit between 2004
Muir, Earth, and Turtles All the Way Down
Earth, and Turtles All the Way Down Decorative Art by George Pettit
This view of John Muir, the Earth, and turtles all the way down,
crowns the top of our four-sided bulletin board which features news and events
of interest to LeConte visitors.
Information and Donations
For more information, during the summer contact Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodges
Curator, P.O. Box 755, Yosemite, CA 95389, 1-209-372-4542; e-mail:
During the winter, contact LeConte Lodge Committee Chair, Harold Wood, P.O. Box 3543,
Visalia, CA 93278; phone: (559) 697-3525; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tax deductible donations to support the new exhibits and renovation efforts of the
LeConte Memorial can be made to "Sierra Club Foundation," marked for the LeConte
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