Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Road Trip Exhibit at Ball State University Libraries

Hitting the Road:  Summer Road Trip Exhibit at Ball State University Libraries

A new exhibit is on display on the second floor of Bracken Library:  Summer Road Trip features historic maps, road atlases, photographs, tour guides, and other materials depicting the heyday of the automobile.  Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections and GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) collaborated to create the special exhibit for the summer.  Jeff Koenker, Bracken Library Bookstacks Supervisor, also generously donated historic maps, cases, and guides from his personal collection for the display.

With the Eisenhower-era creation of the national interstate system came a strong interest and desire to travel the country via the car.  The maps, atlases, photographs, and ephemera displayed in this exhibit provide a taste of what travel was like during this historic period and detail some of the tourist destinations. 

Historic photographs from the Archives and Special Collections feature historic filling stations, drive-in restaurants, and beaches.  Historic tour guides illustrate how directions to popular cities and destinations were written using local landmarks like fences and trees.  The maps from the GRMC and the Koenker collection and the atlases from the Atlas Collection feature beautiful artwork and advertising meant to persuade drivers to travel the country (map images shown above--click to enlarge).

Maps from the GRMC featured in the exhibit include a Indiana road maps from 1925 and 1934, a 1945 map of Indianapolis showing the location of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 1932 road map of Colorado that once belonged to activist Margaret Sanger, historic pictorial maps of Missouri and Florida, a modern map of Route 66, and a unique modern road map of the state of Hawaii.

The exhibit is located in the display cases on the north side of the Archives and Special Collections.  For more information about these resources, please contact Neal Coil from the Archives and Special Collections at 765-285-5078.

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