New Osher Exhibition: Vacationland

Banner image for the Osher Map Library’s exhibition, Vacationland

Vacationland: Mapping History in Maine, the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education’s latest exhibition, “looks at tourism through the lens of travel and transportation, quite literally the mapping of tourism in Maine from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. This exhibition invites you to think about the changing landscape interventions created by and for tourists, as well as the impact such changes had on people living in Maine year round, and upon the environment.” This exhibition opened on 15 June and runs until 11 October; reservations required for social distancing reasons to visit the gallery in person. It’s not yet online; the Osher usually gets an online version up a little later on.

The World in Maps: New Exhibition at Yale’s Beinecke Library

An exhibition at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library opens this Friday: The World in Maps, 1400-1600.

This exhibition presents many of the most historically significant manuscript maps from the late medieval and early modern period from the Beinecke Library’s vast collection of maps. It is focused on portolan charts—large, colorful charts that showed the shoreline of the Mediterranean, and were used by sailors to navigate from port to port. These maps were crucial to the expansion of European trade in the fiftieth and sixteenth century. Yale University Library has one of the most significant map collections of this period and owns some unique items not found in any other collection. […]

This exhibition presents maps from several different historical groups and demonstrates how maps functioned to place people within a larger world context. While primarily focusing on European maps, it also includes Middle Eastern and Asian world maps to illustrate common elements and also highlight significant differences. In addition, the exhibition presents some map forgeries and how they were determined to be fakes using scientific and historic analysis.

On that last point, yes, the Vinland Map will be a highlight of the exhibition, as will the Aguiar and Beccari portolan charts, the Martellus world map, and the Abenzara map.

The exhibition runs until 8 January 2023. Lectures will be taking place in the fall.

New Leventhal Exhibition: More or Less in Common

Image from the More or Less in Common exhibition

More or Less in Common: Environment and Justice in the Human Landscape is the latest exhibition at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map and Education Center.

In More or Less in Common: Environment and Justice in the Human Landscape, we take a look at how questions of social justice and injustice are essential topics to confront when trying to understand the human landscape. These questions must also be at the center of our attention as we challenge ourselves to build better, healthier environments in the future. Through maps as well as photographs, images, and data visualizations, this exhibition encourages you to confront stories about how environmental conditions have sometimes served to worsen inequalities along lines of social division. At the same time, our shared environment offers the possibility to bring people together across differences and the inspiration to forge new kinds of common action.

This is a hybrid physical/digital exhibition that can be visited in person or viewed online. It opened on March 18 and runs until December 28. See the Boston Globe’s coverage.

Maps and Literature Updates: Two Exhibitions and an Article

The Osher’s fantasy map exhibition, North of Nowhere, West of the Moon: Myth, Fiction, and Fantasy in Maps, is now online—though a number of the exhibition’s maps are unavailable to view, I’m guessing for copyright reasons1 (previously).

Last month, MapLab’s Laura Bliss interviewed the Huntington’s curator of literary collections, Karla Nielsen, about the Huntington’s Mapping Fiction exhibition (previously).

The text of my article “Maps in Science Fiction” is now available online (previously).

Crossings: An Exhibition at the Newberry Library

Crossings: Mapping American Journeys, is an exhibition at Chicago’s Newberry Library that explores cross-country journeys of various kinds.

Maps, guidebooks, travelogues, postcards, and more from the Newberry’s collection recreate travelers’ experiences along the northern and southern borders of the US, across the continent’s interior, and up and down the Mississippi River.

These cross-country paths have been in use for centuries whether by water, railroad, car, or airplane. And they’ve remained remarkably consistent despite changes in transportation, commerce, and the people who’ve used them.

But not everyone has experienced travel and mobility equally. The same paths meant “discovery” to the European explorer, freedom to the enslaved, and loss and removal for Indigenous nations.

Crossings shows how centuries of movement—from the Lewis and Clark expedition to the American road trip—have forged deep relationships between people and places that survive to this day.

Crossings opened on February 25 and runs until June 25. Free admission; masks required.

Hardyng’s Map of Scotland On Display

John Hardyng's map of Scotland (British Library)
John Hardyng’s map of Scotland. Lansdowne MS 204, ff. 226v–227r, British Library.

John Hardyng’s map of Scotland is now on display at the University of St. Andrews’s Wardlaw Museum. The 15th-century map was the first to show Scotland in any detail; it was included in Hardyng’s 1457 chronicle, in which he hoped to make the case for an English invasion of Scotland. Held by the British Library, the map is being made available via the Library’s Treasures on Tour program. It’s at the Wardlaw Museum until 3 July 2022. More from the University’s press release and the British Library.

Online Exhibition: Multiple Middles

Abraham Ortelius, “Indiae Orientalis, insularumque adiacientium typos,” 1588. Hand-colored engraving on paper, 20×26¼ in. University of Delaware Special Collections.

An online exhibition from the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press, Multiple Middles: Maps from Early Modern Times features a selection of early modern maps and travel narratives from their special collections. “The exhibition takes narratives from the maps’ edges and repositions them as possible middles. As a result, previously unfamiliar histories and visual elements come to the fore. These objects highlight specific innovations, scientific theories, and geographical middles that their makers intentionally framed. The exhibition provides an alternate view of maps and early modern cartography.” Features many familiar cartographers (e.g. Blaeu, Ortelius). [WMS]

North of Nowhere: The Osher’s Fantasy Map Exhibition

The Osher Map Library’s new exhibition, North of Nowhere, West of the Moon: Myth, Fiction, and Fantasy in Maps, opened on Saturday.

North of Nowhere title cardInspired by our recent acquisition of Bernard Sleigh’s six-foot long “An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth,” (1918) we have selected thematic maps, books, and ephemera from our collections that reflect whimsy and visionary thinking. This exhibit invites visitors to ponder the ways in which myth, fantasy, and fiction have, for centuries, provided both an escape into alternate worlds in times of great strife, as well as an opportunity to create alternate worlds and imagine new realities.

Runs until May 30th; free admission with timed ticket. The digital version won’t be online until February (I’ll post an update then, because this is very much relevant to my interests), but in the meantime the Library is posting teasers on its Instagram account.

New Exhibition: Mapping Fiction

Title card for the Huntington Library's Mapping Fiction exhibitionA new exhibit on the relationship between maps and literature, Mapping Fiction, opened on January 15th at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. “On view in the Library’s West Hall, the exhibition is timed to coincide with the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s groundbreaking 1922 modernist novel, Ulysses. […] About 70 items will be on view, focused on novels and maps from the 16th through the 20th century—largely early editions of books that include elaborate maps of imaginary worlds.” Tickets required; runs until May 2nd. More from the Guardian. [WMS]

Piri Reis Map Back on Display

The Piri Reis map is back on display at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. Like the Tabula Peutingeriana, it’s only taken out for display at intervals to protect it from the elements. Discovered when the palace was being converted into a museum in the 1920s, the map is the western third of a portolan chart drawn on gazelle skin parchment in 1513 by Ottoman admiral Ahmet Muhiddin Piri (“Reis”—admiral—was his title). It was an expansive compilation of ancient and contemporary sources much like the Waldseemüller map, and is fascinating in its own right; in recent years, though, it became one of the “proofs” of a nutty theory involving ancient civilizations and polar shifting. [Tony Campbell]

Previously: The Piri Reis Map of 1513; A Turkish Piri Reis Documentary Is Coming.

Maps of the Pacific

Carte très curieuse de la Mer du Sud
Henri Abraham Chatelain, Carte très curieuse de la Mer du Sud, 1719. Map, 76.6 × 137.9 cm.

Maps of the Pacific is an exhibition of the State Library of New South Wales’s holdings of maps, charts atlases and globes relating to the Pacific Ocean. “This exhibition traces the European mapping of the Pacific across the centuries—an endeavour that elevated the science and art of European mapmaking. Redrawing the map of the world ultimately facilitated an era of brutal colonisation and dispossession for many Pacific First Nations communities.” Open now at the library’s exhibition galleries in Sydney, the exhibition runs until 24 April 2022. Free admission.

In related news, the library’s Mapping the Pacific conference (previously) has been postponed to March 2022.

New Exhibition of California in Maps

You Are Here: California Stories on the Map is an exhibition showing at the Oakland Museum of California through 2022. “Showcasing a diverse range of maps from Oakland, the Bay Area, and California—from environmental surroundings and health conditions to community perspectives and creative artworks—experience how maps can be a powerful tool to share unique points of view and imagine a better future.” San Francisco Examiner coverage. Admission is $16 or free to museum members.

An Osher Map Library Exhibition Inspired by Cancelled Travel in the COVID Era

C. F. Weiland, Cholera-karte oder Übersicht der progressiven verbreitung der Cholera seit ihrer Erscheinung im Jahr 1817 über Asien, Europa und Africa, 1832. Map, 62 × 73 cm. Osher Map Library Sheet Map Collection.

The latest exhibition at the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education is deliberately on the nose: Where Will We Go from Here? Travel in the Age of COVID-19 is the Osher’s first crowdsourced exhibition, based in part on more than 140 responses to an online survey about cancelled travel plans and the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The exhibition is divided into five sections, beginning with an introduction to the mapping of pandemics and diseases, and continuing into four themes that emerged from the types of cancelled or postponed trips our respondents wrote about most frequently: Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Family Milestones; Weddings; Work-Related Travel; and Lost Study-Abroad Experiences. The curators selected stories from the survey and matched personal narratives and reflections about trips not taken to historic maps from our collections. We hope that as you walk through the gallery you will take time to read these personal narratives, and that they provide you with an opportunity to engage in quiet reflection about the challenges you and your loved ones have faced this year, and that you will join us in pondering the question: “Where will we go from here?”

At the end of our questionnaire, we asked participants: “Beyond your canceled travel plans, is there anything else you would like to tell us about how the pandemic has impacted your living and working situations?” We were particularly moved by the honest and thoughtful responses to this question; all responses can be read in a scrolling feed on the monitor at the end of the exhibit.

The physical exhibition opened on 13 May and is open to visitors until 15 October 2021. Free admission with timed tickets; no more than six visitors are allowed in the gallery at any one time. The online exhibition starts here; the sections mixing personal narratives and historical maps can be quite poignant.

New Exhibition: Mapping the Islamic World

Map from Kâtip Çelebi’s Cihannüma, 1732. Barry Ruderman Map Collection. Creative Commons licence.

A new online exhibition at Stanford Libraries’ Rumsey Map Center: Mapping the Islamic World: The Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires. Curated by guest curator Alexandria Brown-Hejazi, the exhibition, which opened last week, “explores maps of the Islamic World, focusing on the ‘Gunpowder Empires’ of Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia, and Mughal India. […] A rich cartographic exchange took place between these three empires and European powers, as maps were used to chart their expansive territories, military campaigns, and trade routes.”