On the Road at the Autry

The Autry’s Route 66 exhibition was quite a little surprise. Even though I was accompanied by 4 little ones, I managed to get some tidbits of knowledge and my curiosity was peaked. The history of the U.S. highway infrastructure is fascinating, and the show does a great job of laying this out, along with examples of how advertising played a role in that development. And I was blown away to see small masterpieces of American Art in the Regionalist paintings scattered through the show by artists like Thomas Hart Benton. (And the kids enjoyed seeing cars, trains, and bicycles!)

But what really blew me away was the original manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and the way it was displayed–this is a great use of technology.

Display for manuscript of Jack Kerouac's On the Road at the Autry. Manuscript scroll is partially unrolled in case.

Display for manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road at the Autry. Manuscript scroll is partially unrolled in case.

autry_ontheroad_monitors

Two monitors – one big monitor on the wall, and a iPad to navigate and zoom.

The manuscript was typed on one long scroll – I think it was 8 sheets of paper Kerouac taped together. It is displayed in a long case, partially unrolled. Above the case is a digital monitor displaying a slice of the manuscript.The same image is on an iPad in front of the case, which allows one visitor to control the view on the larger monitor by swipe-scrolling up or down, and pinching to zoom. Using the scrolling on an iPad to control the navigation of a scroll…simple and brilliant. And the two-monitor set up, so one person controls the navigation and many people can read, is great for the gallery setting. I wonder if they thought about selling giving this as an electronic publication? I would buy it!

autry_ontheroad_detail

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