Public Programs: America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Implementation Grants

Period of Performance

10/1/2010 - 9/30/2013

Funding Totals

$200,000.00 (approved)
$200,000.00 (awarded)

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

FAIN: GI-50246-10

University of Vermont and State Agricultural College (Burlington, VT 05405-0160)
Paul Bierman (Project Director: January 2010 to January 2014)

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

Interstate Impact (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Peter Gilbert
Publication: Vermont Public Radio Commentary
Date: 6/6/2012
Abstract: Commentator and Vermont Humanities Council executive director Peter Gilbert tells us about the development of the Interstate Highway System and a research project that is documenting the construction of the interstates here in Vermont.

Mapping effects of change (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Brian MacQuarrie
Publication: Boston Globe
Date: 9/25/2011
Abstract: Front page article in the metro section all about the NEH funded interstate initiative for the Landscape Change Program