See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet

June 27 - October 26, 2014

Click here to view a slideshow of images from the exhibit.

Assembled to accompany Road Trip: America Through the Windshield, the vintage car advertisements in this exhibit span six decades, from 1920 to 1979. They were culled from general interest periodicals, such as Life, Time, and National Geographic, as well as magazines specializing in the auto industry, such as Car & Driver and Road & Track.

Although the ad copy often purports to emphasize style, speed, power, or comfort, a look at the images reveals what’s really going on. The idyllic riverbank in the background, majestic buttes of the American Southwest, cascading waterfalls, purple mountains in the shimmering distance — these tell the real story. Buy this car, and there will be no limit on the places you’ll go, the adventures you’ll have, the exhilarating life you’ll lead. The 1968 Olds 4-4-2 ad, with a stylish model perched on the windshield, goes all the way: Buy this car, and you can do whatever you want, be whoever you want to be. The open road awaits.

No ad campaign captured the allure of the open road like Dinah Shore’s signature “See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet,” which beamed into millions of homes weekly from 1952 to 1963. Poised at the confluence of that era’s car manufacturing boom and the creation of the U.S. interstate highway system, Ms. Shore became an American cultural icon, a trusted and admired symbol of the limitless possibility of “the greatest land of all.”

— Danny Lichtenfeld, Director