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Exhibit | Above Ann Arbor: Aerial Photographs from the Ann Arbor News


Wednesday December 11, 2019: 9:00am to Friday January 31, 2020: 9:00am


Downtown Library: 2nd Floor Exhibit


The Ann Arbor News routinely published aerial photographs. They were mainly used to document civic improvements and changes to the city as they happened at the time. Yet the result for us, looking back, is something like a snow-globe: We look down from above at a particular time and place at a miniaturized version of our city’s past and the perspective makes us appreciate where we are and what we have.

Bird’s-eye view photography has the distinct advantage of placing civic improvements in their wider context within the surrounding landscape, so it's no surprise that many of the Ann Arbor News’ aerial photographs are of large-scale construction projects. Examples here include the building of the new courthouse around the old courthouse in 1955, the ever-expanding University of Michigan hospital complex in 1952, and the layout of a new subdivision on the west side of town in 1956. We also find aerial photographs of highway interchanges and familiar crossroads, as well as bridges and dams on the Huron River with an overhead view as Ann Arbor’s artery winds its way through the Huron River Valley.

Sometimes an aerial photograph is simply the best way to capture the energy of a moment: For example, the enthusiasm of a crowd awaiting then-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon's whistle-stop visit at the train depot in October 1960 or the pageantry of a sunny graduation day at Ferry Field in June 1949.

For more aerial photographs, visit: