25, No. 19, April 20, 2006
‘Road trip' celebrates
interstate highway system
Melissa Mitchell, News Bureau Staff Writer
photo to enlarge
by L. Brian Stauffer
Airstream travel trailer outfitted with a recording
studio, an array of flat-panel screens and a 3-D virtual
environment will join a convoy of other vehicles
traveling through Illinois on June 24 as part
of the 50th anniversary celebration of the federal
law that established the Eisenhower Interstate
Highway System. Individuals may contribute to
the history about traveling U.S. highways through
the project’s Web
An Airstream travel
trailer featuring an interactive
installation created by a design team from the UI will hit the road
in June as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Eisenhower
The 28-foot trailer is similar to the original Airstreams that were popular on
interstate highways among vacationers beginning around the time the system was
launched. The UI trailer – which originally was featured on Donald Trump’s
television show, “The Apprentice” – is parked on the south
side of the Krannert Art Museum, where it is expected to remain until the interior
installation is completed.
The trailer will join a convoy of other vehicles passing through Illinois on I-80 – enroute
from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. – on June 24. The convoy, organized
by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, will
stop in Chicago for an anniversary celebration on June 26 before proceeding to
the nation’s capital.
The symbolic route across the United States is similar to the one Dwight D. Eisenhower
took in 1919 as a young soldier traveling in a cross-country military convoy.
Eisenhower’s memory ofthat long, arduous trek was the stimulus for his later
advocacy of a national interstate highway system that could transport military
vehicles and people across the country with ease and expedience. During his presidency,
he signed the legislation that funded the system on June 29, 1956.
The exhibit to be housed in the UI trailer was designed by art and design
instructor Steve Kostell; Rose Marshack, visiting art and technology specialist
at Krannert Art Museum; and Rick Valentin, a graduate student in the School
of Art and Design.
The trio submitted the winning designs in a campuswide competition sponsored
by the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the UI’s department
of civil and environmental engineering, Krannert Art Museum and School
of Art and Design.
“There was one team of two (Marshack and Valentin), and Kostell worked
by himself, and we chose both entries as our winner because we felt they strongly
complemented each other,” said David Weightman, director of the art and
design school and a member of the judging panel.
The traveling exhibit will include a recording studio and an array of large,
flat-panel screens to project images and interviews by ordinary people recounting
their travel experiences on the interstate highways. Also part of the installation
will be a 3-D virtual environment that allows visitors to use a game pad to navigate
a simulation of the interstate highways under construction, and to “fly
over” the highways to hear random, pre-recorded travelers’ stories.
Audio or text stories may be
submitted as part of the project.