“When looking at maps, we should always be mindful of the question: Who is mapping what and for what purpose?” A new exhibition at the Museum Volkskunde in Leiden, in collaboration with Leiden University Libraries, Kaarten: navigeren en manipuleren [Maps: Navigating and Manipulating], which opened last month, gathers together contemporary art and antique maps from their respective collections to explore the question of truth and perspective in maps. One example: a “serio-comic map” from the Crimean war (in Dutch). Another video, also in Dutch. Runs until 29 October 2023. Tickets 15€ or less.
The Osher Map Library’s latest physical exhibition, Industry, Wealth, and Labor: Mapping New England’s Textile Industry, opened last Thursday. “Inspired by the map library’s recent acquisition of a collection of textile mill insurance plans and historic maps from the American Textile History Museum, this exhibition addresses the temporal, geographic, and demographic components of New England’s cotton textile industry from the early 19th century until the middle of the 20th century.” Free admission; runs until 30 June 2023.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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]
The Osher Map Library’s new exhibition, North of Nowhere, West of the Moon: Myth, Fiction, and Fantasy in Maps, opened on Saturday.
Inspired 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.
A 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]
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]
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.
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.