In 2008 the National Endowment for the Humanities and and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of the United Kingdom sponsored a conference, "Picturing the Nation," that addressed key issues of how people and societies communicate without using the written word; how we learn from watching and imitating others; how we learn from images and objects; and how and why we respond to performance, sound, and place.
During the conference, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga history professor Wilfred M. McClay, said that, "Art can be used to enable inquiries beyond its immediate subjects. Written narratives are capable of offering details of a specific, subjective experience. Art, however, is a more effective means of presenting a comprehensive perspective. The written text can only hint at the panorama." Thus, art (like photographs) can bring history alive and communicate to us in ways that words may find difficult.
This image gallery brings the U.S. census, from 1790 to 2010, alive using photographic images. Included are historic photos and images of census memorabilia. In the coming months, additional photos documenting the U.S. Census Bureau's censuses and surveys will be added. Visit the image galleries regularly to see what is new!