About the Project

The goal of ParkCulture is to create a resource that makes visible the various ideologies that have inflected the creation and development of the national parks. The creation of the U.S. national parks coincides with the end of westward expansion, which displaced many indigenous populations; the growth of the railroads and then the highway system, which facilitated tourism; the beginning of the environmental movement; and the development and popularization of photography. All these forces manifested in the national parks’ creation.

Supported by a Rosenkranz Grant for Pedagogical Development from Yale University, this digital humanities project is an interactive website resource that includes galleries, maps, timelines, multimedia, and text. The objective of these functions is to enhance understanding of two guiding questions: how does and did the visual culture of the national parks create, support, and narrate a particular vision of U.S. national identity at distinct historical moments? For whom are the parks and whose interests are represented through its visual culture?

This project is the first academically-created but publicly-available website specifically devoted to the visual culture of the national parks, bringing together images and analyses of related artworks and objects of different media from distinct collections.