New Exhibit: To the Mountaintop

Posted on: Monday, September 17, 2018 - 12:18pm

To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering

Woman standing in front of a mountainWestern Libraries Heritage Resources hosts a new exhibition exploring the complex relationship between humans’ love of high altitudes and issues of gender, race, and class. “To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering,” opens September 26 and will remain on display through March 22, 2019. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be available for viewing Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed weekends and holidays) in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor).

Mountains are as much a part of the human psyche as they are a part of the landscape. In his last speech, Martin Luther King spoke of having “been to the mountaintop” and seen a land of greater promise, and Americans proudly sing the lines, “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Literally and symbolically, mountains are a source of liberation. But in helping some reach new heights, mountains have also been the backdrop to past and present struggles that have left others feeling looked down on.

“To the Mountaintop” features rare books, historical photographs, and manuscript materials from Western Libraries’ division of Heritage Resources. Together, these unique resources reveal glimpses into the mountaineering history of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, providing background and context to support the study not only of climbing and outdoor recreation, but also topics including race, gender, class, culture, and climate change.    

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