In this lecture, Rachel Gross, Spring 2014 Lemelson Center Fellow, discusses her research on the evolution of outdoor gear from military use to recreation. Gross’s project, entitled “From Buckskin to Gore-Tex: Consumption as a Path to Mastery in 20th c. American Wilderness Recreation,” examines how Americans paradoxically invented and relied upon all kinds of high-tech inventions like sleeping bags, portable camping stoves, and waterproof jackets to escape the modern world and get “back to nature.” During her fellowship, Gross will consult the collections and trade catalogs of several outdoor equipment inventors and outfitters, including the Aladdin Industries, Inc. records, the DuPont Nylon collection, and the Leonard Karr collection.
A production of the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center. Audio production by Chris J. Gauthier. Originally recorded on May 6, 2014.