Previous Page

To the Mountaintop: A Social History of Mountaineering


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. This exhibition features historical materials from Western Libraries Heritage Resources that explore the complex relationship between our love of high altitudes and issues of gender, race, and class.