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University of Vermont and State Agricultural College (Burlington, VT 05405-0160)
Paul Bierman (Project Director: January 2010 to January 2014)
Interpreting the Interstates: How Highways Changed Rural America's Sense of Place

Implementation of a multiformat project analyzing the history of interstate highways in Vermont (1956-80). Formats would include an interactive website, a banner exhibition, permanent roadside signage, a book, and public programming.

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.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Implementation Grants

Public Programs

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2010 – 9/30/2013