Railroads as Agents of Change

Railroads as Agents of Change: Departures from Northwestern Collections - January 11 - March 3, 2005

Materials from the Transportation Library,
Main Library exhibit space
On display on the first floor of the Main Library at Northwestern University for the first months of 2005, this exhibit highlighted the diverse and far-reaching ways in which advances in railroad technology have affected our world since the first one was invented in 1825. Indeed, there is little in the modern world that railroad technology didn’t affect, including our perception of time and distance, patterns of settlement, relationships between labor and industry, and, not least, urban and rural landscapes.

The main exhibit drew on Northwestern's Transportation Library, Art Collection, Music Library, Africana Collection, Special Collections, and Mitchell Multimedia Center. It featured not only physical objects of historical and artistic interest, but also multimedia elements, including a widescreen sampling of train-related video clips and a selection of railroad-related music accessible through a listening station.

Main Library exhibit space

In addition to the exhibit on the main floor, satellite exhibits were put up in the Africana Collection (Main Library, Level 5, East Tower), Transportation Library (Main Library, Level 5, North Tower), and Art Collection (Deering Library, Level 3).

This online component of the exhibit includes a number of features not found in the physical exhibit, including a slideshow illustrating the evolution of the railroad engine, streaming audio of the exhibit-related lectures held on January 20, 2005, a photographic tour of the physical exhibit, a bibliographical listing of library materials included in the exhibit and recommended for further study, and links to further information on the impact of the railroad on history, aesthetics, and culture.

For directions to the main floor of the Northwestern University Library, click here.

To read the introductory material provided for the physical exhibit, click here (PDF).

Number of Visitors since January 7, 2005: