“Road Trip!” opens at Museum of Natural and Cultural History

New exhibition combines science and travelogue to showcase Oregon’s geology

Marli MillerEUGENE, Ore. — (Nov. 4, 2014) — Ready for an Oregon road trip? Avoid the rain or snow and head to the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

On Friday, the museum, 1680 E. 15th Ave., opens "Road Trip! The Roadside Geology of Oregon." The exhibition features photographs and maps from the just-released revised edition of "Roadside Geology of Oregon" by UO geologist Marli Miller.

"Road Trip!" kicks off with a reception and book signing from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Like the book that inspired it, the exhibition uses Oregon's roadways as reference points for exploring the state's diverse geology.  

"From the sand dunes and headlands along U.S. Highway 101 to the lava plateaus flanking U.S. Route 197, Oregon's roads traverse a really varied and colorful landscape," said Miller, who curated the exhibit. "In this state, even a short road trip can expose us to quite a lot of fascinating geology."    

A view from Highway 101 of Cape AragoVisitors to the exhibit can travel along six different stretches of highway, each one showcasing a unique geologic region in the state. Miller's maps and photographs are combined with rock specimens and other display elements that illustrate each region's geologic past as well as ongoing processes like erosion and volcanism.  

"Road Trip!" also includes fun, interactive displays and up-cycled car and bike parts that expand on the travel theme.

"It's a unique exhibit in that it doesn't take itself too seriously," Miller said. "The science is there, but it's presented in a user-friendly way that encourages us to relate to and enjoy the landscapes we experience every day."

A glove-compartment standard since the mid-1970s, "Roadside Geology of Oregon" is part of a series of books published by Mountain Press in Missoula, Montana. Now including 24 titles and covering landscapes from Alaska to New York, the series strives to make geology accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.

Copies of the new edition will be available for purchase during the opening reception.

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is a center of interdisciplinary research and education, serving the UO, the global research community, K-12 students and educators, and the wider public in Oregon and beyond. Its exhibits span 15,000 years of cultural history and 300 million years of natural history, with an emphasis on Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Media Contact: Kristin Strommer, UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 541-346-5083, kstromme@uoregon.edu

Source: Marli Miller, senior instructor, UO Department of Geological Sciences, 541-346-4410, millerm@uoregon.edu