“This will be the third of four years displaying his collection,” says Trisha Noack, the library’s spokeswoman. “This is the world headquarters of Caterpillar, so you have many people here interested in Cat,” she explains. Other visitors may be curious to see the ads for their fine-art value.

“You’re seeing the history of the community but also how the art styles changed,” Noack adds. The period that will be on display will detail how Caterpillar took part in the inception of the Interstate Highway System.

Not all these ads may seem politically correct today—such as those showing dead bodies on the side of the road, Johnson notes.

“Many of these ads were focused on trying to convey the message to folks that they needed to support the federal and state governments spending money to improve the safety of the transportation system,” Johnson says. “It was basically a sort of public relations.”

Next year’s exhibit will show the remainder of the collection, spanning 1959-1980. Click the slideshow to see a selection of Caterpillar ads through the years.