The story of the monumental effort to build the Panama Canal is powerfully depicted in murals by notable artist William B Van Ingen of New York. The murals are mounted in the rotunda of the Panama Canal Administration Building. The paintings have the distinction of being the largest group of murals by an American artist on display outside the USA.
The murals tell the story of the canal’s construction through four main scenes: the digging of Gaillard Cut at Gold Hill, where the canal passes through the continental divide; the building of the spillway of the Gatún Dam, which dammed the Río Chagres and created Lago Gatún; the construction of one of the giant lock gates (the canal uses some 80 of these gates); and the construction of the Miraflores Locks near the Pacific entrance to the canal. A frieze located immediately below the murals presents a panorama of the excavation of Gaillard Cut.
Van Ingen is also known for his murals in the Library of Congress and the US Mint.
It's closed on weekends, but guards may allow visits between 10am and 2:30pm if you ask politely.