Interpreting the Interstates: How Highways Changed Rural America’s Sense of Place

October 1st, 2010 - September 30th, 2013 | PROJECT

Interpreting the Interstates seeks to understand the impact of Interstate Highways on the culture and history of Rural America. Its core is a unique collection of 36,655 large-format negatives taken before, during, and after construction of the Interstates in Vermont, the Nation’s most rural state. During year 1, we will make 10,000 of these rarely-seen images public through an established digital image archive, the Landscape Change Program. In year 2, we will use images as catalysts for public discourse at town gatherings. In year 3, we will disseminate our findings widely and stimulate public discussion using 1) a flexible modular exhibit reaching much of the State’s populace at non-traditional venues: 20 county fairs, 18 libraries, & 17 rest areas, 2) permanent interpretive signs at rest stops along Vermont’s Interstate Highways to reach millions of tourists who yearly visit Vermont on the Interstate, and 3) a book and interactive web presence for national dissemination.

Project Website(s)

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Project Products

Team Members

Paul Bierman, Principal Investigator, University of Vermont


Funding Source: NEH
Award Number: GI-50246-10
Funding Amount: 200000


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Social science and psychology | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Library Exhibits | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits