José Clemente Orozco's extraordinary mural cycle The Epic of American Civilization (1932-34) is located in Dartmouth's Baker Library. The library is currently closed to the public, see below to learn how you can explore Orozco's Epic online.
About the Mural
The Epic of American Civilization by José Clemente Orozco, painted between 1932 and 1934, is one of Dartmouth's greatest artistic resources. As Professor Mary Coffey writes in the Hood Museum of Art's publication Orozco at Dartmouth: "José Clemente Orozco reorients the 'epic of America' from the standard US narrative that begins with British colonization along the northeastern seaboard and proceeds heroically west to a Mexican story rooted in Mesoamerican civilizations and the devastation wrought by the Spanish Conquest . . . Orozco presents America's epic as cyclical in nature, the eternal return of destruction and creation, rather than a linear tale of democratic expansion and progress."
Located in the Orozco Room in Baker Library, the 24 panels comprising the mural cover nearly 3,200 square feet of wall space. One of Orozco's finest creations and one of Dartmouth's most treasured works, the mural was designated a national historic landmark in 2013.
The Orozco Room was made possible by the Manton Foundation, whose generosity provides perpetual support for the preservation, understanding, and awareness of the Orozco mural.
Virtual 3D Tour
Explore The Epic of American Civilization virtually through this 3D Matterport scan. Move through the space by clicking on the transparent circles on the floor. Click on the color-coded dots to learn more about Orozco's mural cycle through additional imagery, text, and audio.
Listen to a question-and-answer session about Orozco's commission and experience at Dartmouth with Dr. Jacquelynn Baas, director emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley, Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and inaugural director of the Hood Museum of Art.
Listen to an audio tour by Dartmouth Associate Professor of Anthropology John Watanabe. Professor Watanabe is a Latin American and Mesoamerican specialist.
Download Orozco at Dartmouth: The Epic of American Civilization (pdf)
Descargar Orozco en Dartmouth: La épica de la civilización americana (pdf)
Take A Closer Look at Orozco's "Gods of the Modern World" panel using this brochure. The A Closer Look brochures were originally designed for use in the galleries. They introduce visitors to one work of art through the Learning to Look method.
Learning to Look: José Clemente Orozco (teacher resource). Based on the Learning to Look method created by the Hood Museum of Art. This discussion-based approach will introduce Orozco's test panel using the five steps involved in exploring a work of art: careful observation, analysis, research, interpretation, and critique.
Dartmouth Digital Orozco
View a full-screen panoramic image of the The Epic of American Civilization and examine preparatory drawings in context. The site includes in-process documentary photographs as well as essays by Dartmouth students who have taken courses on Orozco and Mexican art.
Dartmouth Digital Orozco was produced by the Hood Museum of Art in collaboration with the Neukom Institute for Computational Science. Funding was generously provided by the Class of 1960, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Neukom Institute for Computational Science.
Please note: The Orozco Room is physically closed for the 2020–21 academic year. Library staff expertise is available, please click here for library contact information. If possible, materials will continue to be retrieved for researchers upon request.
The Orozco Room is located on the lower level of Dartmouth's Baker Library. The street address is: 25 North Main Street, Hanover, NH 03755.
Click here to view the Baker Library's hours.
Photographs of the mural may be taken for personal use only. Flash photography is not permitted.
For image rights and reproductions requests, please click here for more information.
- Men of Fire: José Clemente Orozco and Jackson Pollock
- José Clemente Orozco in the United States, 1927-1934
- Orozco's Epic of American Civilization Now a National Historic Landmark, 2013
- Recent Acquisitions: José Clemente Orozco, The Elevated, 1928
- "Class of 2022 toured Orozco murals for Shared Academic Experience," The Dartmouth
Past Programs About the Murals
- Watch the 2018 Manton Foundation Annual Orozco Lecture, delivered by Dartmouth Associate Professor of Art History Mary Coffey, "White Zombies and Black Labor: Specters of Slavery and Rebellion in José Clemente Orozco's Epic of American Civilization"