The Dust Bowl

Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle, March 1936, LC-DIG-fsa-8b27276 (digital file from original negative). Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Striking at the depth of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl blasted the hopes and hard work of people in the Great Plains. For those who lived through it, the experience was unmatched as an example of ecological calamity and a test of personal will. Today it is difficult for younger generations to comprehend what happened, but The Dust Bowl can bridge the gap between generations and promote understanding of the pioneering will to prevail in the face of immutable laws of nature.


In the 1930s, photographers working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) captured unforgettable images of human fortitude in the face of despair. Nebraska photographer Bill Ganzel set out in the late 1970s to find and re-photograph Dust Bowl survivors for a book and exhibition. The Dust Bowl combines FSA photographs and Ganzel’s interviews to create an eloquent story of human perseverance. Panel topics include:

  • Dust storms, blasted crops, and abandoned farms in the Great Plains
  • Displaced men, women, and children
  • Heading west
  • Staying put
  • 4-H Clubs, WPA, and other government programs
  • Country schools
  • Changes through time

The Dust Bowl is an exhibition organized by the Nebraska Council for the Humanities in collaboration with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Exhibition Format

Content8 double-sided panels (38” x 30”)
9 support legs (74” tall)
Space Requirements135 square feet of floor space (15’ x 9’)
Shipping weight and dimensionsTravels in 3 plastic cases:
  • 45” x 33” x 10” - 94 lbs.
  • 45” x 33” x 10” - 94 lbs.
  • 79” x 6” x 6” - 45 lbs.
Rental Fee*$450*
Rental Period4 weeks

*Rental fees are based primarily on the cost of shipping. Prices may vary based on current fuel surcharges or venue location within the state of Texas. Out-of-state rentals are priced on an individual basis. Please call for a rental fee quote specific to your venue.

Printable Materials

A PDF file of the exhibition brochure is available for venues to download, print, and distribute during the display period. The Dust Bowl digital brochure.

Publicity Materials

Press release

The Dust Bowl press release.

Publicity image

A publicity image is available for promoting this exhibition at your venue. Please contact the exhibitions coordinator to request an electronic file of this image. Please allow 2-3 business days for the exhibitions coordinator to process your request.

Humanities Texas logos

Logo files are also available for download on the logo page.

Book Now or Receive a Quote

To book an exhibition or receive a quote, please complete the online rental form.

Questions and Rental Information

Call 512.440.1991 or email

2022-2023 Bookings

Kurth Memorial Library
Lufkin, TX

Wayland Baptist University
Plainview, TX

On Display

Fleeing a Dust Storm, Cimarron County, OK, 1936, by Arthur Rothstein.