Images dating back to 1930s showcased through collaborative project
A trove of images documenting the history of the Blue Ridge Parkway is now available through the National Park Service’s online gallery, NPGallery. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will host a free 30-minute webinar at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 11, to provide a virtual tour of the archive.
During the webinar, Kat Connelly with the National Park Service will provide tips for finding images within the gallery database and how to download them for use. More than 8,000 photographs, drawings, and documents were added to the national park gallery through a collaborative project between the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and National Park Service.
“In addition to preserving the history of this amazing national park unit, this project gives people around the world the chance to trace the visual backstory of the Blue Ridge Parkway through its 85-year history,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Foundation.
Working with the Blue Ridge Parkway’s museum curator, Connelly served as the digital archives technician for the project through an internship with the American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit organization that provides environmental service opportunities to help restore the country’s public lands.
“The most rewarding part came from seeing the start-to-finish documentation of the Parkway,” Connelly said. “I watched time move through still images of construction progress, changes in visitors’ clothing and styles of cars, landscape alterations, and increasing traffic as different spots grew in popularity.”
An earlier project laid the groundwork for the collection. Approximately 7,000 of the photographs uploaded to the NPGallery were originally scanned and digitized for the Driving Through Time website, a digital humanities project of UNC-Chapel Hill led by Dr. Anne Mitchell Whisnant, the author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. The website includes additional source material about the history of the Parkway including articles and oral histories.
Registration is required for the Zoom webinar at BRPFoundation.org/photogallery. Those who can’t attend at the designated time are invited to register in order to receive a link to a recording of the session.
To explore the NPGallery, visit npgallery.nps.gov/BLRI.