Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library

Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library is dedicated to the creative educati
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Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library is a nonprofit organization established as a public-private partnership between the Library and philanthropist Norman Leventhal. Its mission is to use the collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases for the enjoyment and education of all through exhibitions, educational programs, and a website that includes more than 3,700 digitized maps. The map

collection is global in scope, dating from the 15th century to the present, with a particular strength in maps and atlases from the New England region, American Revolutionary War period, nautical charts, and world urban centers. The Leventhal Map Center is located on the first floor of the Library’s historic McKim Building in Copley Square. It includes an exhibition gallery that features changing thematic exhibitions, a public learning center with research books, and a reading room for rare map research. Other elements include a world globe three feet in diameter and a Kids Map Club with map puzzles, books and activities. Educational programs for students in grades K to 12 are offered to school groups on site and in the classroom. More than 100 lesson plans based on national standards are available on the website, and professional development programs for teachers are scheduled regularly throughout the year. The Leventhal Map Center is ranked among the top ten in the United States for the size of its collection, the significance of its historic (pre-1900) material, and its advanced digitization program. It is unique among the major collections because it also combines these features with exceptional educational programs to advance geographic literacy among students in grades K to 12 and enhance the teaching of subjects from history to mathematics to language arts. The collection is also the second largest in the country located in a public library, ensuring unlimited access to these invaluable resources for scholars, educators, and the general public.

Boston, we love you! As we close the chapter on another successful year, we’re grateful for our community of friends and...
12/28/2023

Boston, we love you! As we close the chapter on another successful year, we’re grateful for our community of friends and map lovers near and far, and all that you have helped us accomplish in 2023.

If you’d like to support new and innovative projects in 2024, please consider giving a donation of any size before the end of the calendar year. From public programs and engaging exhibitions, to teacher workshops and historical research, we offer our resources free to all, so we are reliant on you—people that care about maps, geography, and history—to sustain our work. Visit leventhalmap.org/donate

Cheers to 2024! ✨

Map: Bullard Company (Boston, Mass.), "The heart of New England" [ca. 1911].

Get into the winter spirit and stop by our collections showing on Friday, “From the Vault: Winter Travel and Tourism.” S...
12/13/2023

Get into the winter spirit and stop by our collections showing on Friday, “From the Vault: Winter Travel and Tourism.” See maps in our collections that take you from landscapes covered in snow and ice to abandoned coal mining towns in the picturesque Canadian Rockies. This excerpt is from a map highlighting winter activities in the Berkshires. Drop in anytime from 2-4 PM, no registration required!

Map: Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts, “Winter sports map of the Berkshire Hills” (Berkshire County Commissioners, 1936).

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! Did you know that the oldest synagogue in the United States—Touro synagogue in Newp...
12/12/2023

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! Did you know that the oldest synagogue in the United States—Touro synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island—was dedicated on the first night of Hanukkah in 1763? (December 2, 1763)

The architect of the building, Newport resident Peter Harrison, also designed King’s Chapel in Boston and Christ Church in Cambridge) It's seen here on an 1850 map in our collections, and still stands on Touro Street today.

Henry Francis Walling, "Map of Newport County, Rhode Island" (1850). https://bit.ly/488ufLx

Join us on Wednesday, December 20 at 6:00 pm ET at  Rabb Hall with Jake Berman for a talk on his new book, The Lost Subw...
12/03/2023

Join us on Wednesday, December 20 at 6:00 pm ET at Rabb Hall with Jake Berman for a talk on his new book, The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been.

The Lost Subways of North America offers a new way to consider this eternal question, with a strikingly visual—and fun—journey through past, present, and unbuilt urban transit. Using meticulous archival research, cartographer and artist Jake Berman has successfully plotted maps of old train networks covering twenty-three North American metropolises, ranging from New York City’s Civil War–era plan for a steam-powered subway under Fifth Avenue to the ultramodern automated Vancouver SkyTrain and the thousand-mile electric railway system of pre–World War II Los Angeles. He takes us through colorful maps of old, often forgotten streetcar lines, lost ideas for never-built transit, and modern rail systems—drawing us into the captivating transit histories of US and Canadian cities. Berman combines vintage styling with modern printing technology to create a sweeping visual history of North American public transit and urban development. With more than one hundred original maps, accompanied by essays on each city’s urban development, this book presents a fascinating look at North American rapid transit systems.

Learn more and register at https://bit.ly/3OOUq3l.

One of the final tangles in the construction of Boston's Big Dig was the controversy around "Scheme Z"—the proposed brid...
11/28/2023

One of the final tangles in the construction of Boston's Big Dig was the controversy around "Scheme Z"—the proposed bridge and intersection crossing the Charles River. This December 1990 illustration from the Boston Globe maps "four scenarios for navigating Scheme Z by automobile."

Stop by the Leventhal Center this Friday from 2–4 pm to see more maps and documents about the Big Dig with Ian Coss and Isabel Hibbard, the producers of "The Big Dig" podcast from GBH.

More information:
https://www.leventhalmap.org/event/ftv-big-dig/

Watch out for the rocks! ⛵[Image description: Excerpt from map shows a ship sailing past dark shapes labeled "rocks." Th...
11/26/2023

Watch out for the rocks! ⛵

[Image description: Excerpt from map shows a ship sailing past dark shapes labeled "rocks." The word "river" and a land mass are on the right hand side.]

H. McIntyre, "Plan of Newburyport Mass. from an actual survey" (1851).

🦃🥧 Happy   from all of us at the Leventhal Map & Education Center! Whatever you are eating or however you are choosing t...
11/23/2023

🦃🥧 Happy from all of us at the Leventhal Map & Education Center! Whatever you are eating or however you are choosing to celebrate today, we hope you enjoy it.

[Image description: Map excerpt showing illustrated turkeys, cows, apples and vegetables.]

Armour and Company, "Armour food source map" [c. 1950–1959].

This week, our gallery will be open 1–5 pm on Wednesday, November 22 and closed on Thursday, November 23. Regular hours ...
11/21/2023

This week, our gallery will be open 1–5 pm on Wednesday, November 22 and closed on Thursday, November 23. Regular hours are in effect Friday through Sunday.

For more information, see https://leventhalmap.org/visit

The Danger on Boston Commutes by Makaya Vicks, Jeremiah E. Burke High School student: “This map shows all the train stop...
11/21/2023

The Danger on Boston Commutes by Makaya Vicks, Jeremiah E. Burke High School student: “This map shows all the train stops in Boston. There are 3 big red circles around the map that represent the places where many assaults took place from January to mid-March 2023. The colorful lines around the map are all the different train routes including the Red Line, Orange Line, Blue Line, and Green Line. All the diamond dots are the assaults that happened near all the train stops. The three circles with little trains inside are used to show you the half-mile walks to the train stations.”

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Digital map of Boston. Three large red circles indicate areas where assaults recently took place. Smaller dots include other areas of crime. Includes MBTA subway lines.]

150+ Years of the East Boston Branch Library: What was East Boston like in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What ...
11/20/2023

150+ Years of the East Boston Branch Library: What was East Boston like in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What schools and churches were found in the neighborhood? Were any industries based in East Boston? To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the current location of , we've created an Atlascope tour that explores the history of the branch and the neighborhood around it through time. Visit atlascope.org > take a tour

Archiving the Past and Present of Transportation: Did you miss our event with Rachel Cole of Northwestern University’s ?...
11/18/2023

Archiving the Past and Present of Transportation: Did you miss our event with Rachel Cole of Northwestern University’s ? No worries - the recording is up on our Youtube and pages for your viewing. Visit: https://bit.ly/3MNKhCw

This T map from 1982 shows all kinds of colorful ads and designs, including an ad in the top right corner for "Boston's Museum of Transportation" on Congress Street, which no longer exists.

General Drafting Company, "T system map" (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, 1982.)

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this week's planned From the Vault collections showing on Native American Heritage will...
11/16/2023

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this week's planned From the Vault collections showing on Native American Heritage will be postponed. Check back soon for a rescheduled date in December! Meanwhile, mark your calendars for the next From the Vault: The Big Dig, on Friday Dec 1.

Have you ever thought you could come up with more creative names for Boston's subway stations? We're currently running a...
11/16/2023

Have you ever thought you could come up with more creative names for Boston's subway stations? We're currently running a transit-themed fundraising auction, asking YOU to help us "re-name" the classic subway map. Bid $5 or $10 on your favorite station: http://bit.ly/lmectransit

11/15/2023

What are transportation collections? What can we learn from them? What do they tell us about policy choices and transit investment? Join us on Wednesday, November 15 at 12:00 pm EST with Rachel Cole of Northwestern University’s Transportation Library for a virtual talk on archiving the past and present of transportation.

Rachel Cole is the Curator and Head of Northwestern University’s Transportation Library, where she curates collections and exhibitions, directs instruction and outreach, and provides research support to students and faculty of the university’s Transportation Center as well as to a global community of transportation researchers. She works to make connections between current and historical collections, making the library’s materials relevant, interesting, and accessible to a broad community of researchers and the interested public.

Prior to her work as a transportation librarian, Rachel worked as a Research Editor with Encyclopaedia Britannica, and with special collections libraries including the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Newberry Library.

Franklin Park Adventure: Taking the Bus by Rudy Stout, Madison Park Techinical Vocational High School student: “This is ...
11/13/2023

Franklin Park Adventure: Taking the Bus by Rudy Stout, Madison Park Techinical Vocational High School student: “This is a map that I made that lets people know how to get to the Franklin Park Zoo from Madison Park high school on a 28 MBTA bus. Some layers of data you can see are bus stops, bus routes, Boston Public Schools and an add-on measuring tool. Two symbols I have on my map are diamond waypoints that show two stops that the 28 goes to.”

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Digital map of Roxbury. A purple line is used to show the route of an MBTA bus from a school to Franklin Park. Green space is shaded in red.]

Inaccessible Transit: Unequal Access by Jack Sawyers,  student: “This map shows the accessibility of the Green Line on t...
11/05/2023

Inaccessible Transit: Unequal Access by Jack Sawyers, student: “This map shows the accessibility of the Green Line on the MBTA, displaying the many stops on it which are not accessible. The Green Line on the map represents the Green Line and its stops, and the small blue wheelchair symbol with a cross over it represents the non-accessible stops. Furthermore the colors represent people who have self-identified as having ambulatory difficulties—the darker the color, the more people with ambulatory difficulties in that area.”

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Digital map of Boston from downtown to Brighton. Includes the routes of the MBTA Green line. Areas are shaded in a range of pinks to indicate people with ambulatory difficulties. Small blue wheelchair symbols are placed next to non-accessible stops.]

Have you been listening to GBH’s "The Big Dig" podcast? Have you noticed how many times the story refers to maps of all ...
11/03/2023

Have you been listening to GBH’s "The Big Dig" podcast? Have you noticed how many times the story refers to maps of all kinds?

Join us for a From the Vault collections showing on December 1 with producers Ian Coss and Isabel Hibbard.

What's the fastest way to get to BPL via public transit on Halloween? Why, get off at CORPSLEY Station, of course!This p...
10/31/2023

What's the fastest way to get to BPL via public transit on Halloween? Why, get off at CORPSLEY Station, of course!

This pun-filled map, created by Matt Lee and Ryan Dougherty for Halloween 2020, turns the familiar subway system into a maze of haunted house names.

See the full map: https://orangumovie.com/mbta/

Map images CC BY-SA 4.0 Matt Lee & Ryan Dougherty

In case you need a few last-minute options for your Halloween costume tonight...[Image description: Colorful pictorial m...
10/31/2023

In case you need a few last-minute options for your Halloween costume tonight...

[Image description: Colorful pictorial map shows a fantasy land filled with red-roofed houses, waterfalls, and many fairytale creatures such as dwarves.]

Bernard Sleigh, "An anciente mappe of Fairyland" (Sidgwick & Jackson, ca. 1917). https://bit.ly/46BoENp

Time is Money, Commuting is Time by Gideon Neave,  student: “Here in Boston, our economy runs on our many workers who co...
10/30/2023

Time is Money, Commuting is Time by Gideon Neave, student: “Here in Boston, our economy runs on our many workers who commute from all over the city to their jobs every day. However, these commutes are often long and draining and can take up large parts of our day. For me, I commute almost 2 hours a day, and sometimes more, to get to school, to work, and back home to East Boston. This map shows the relationship between areas in Boston with lower income and people who have to commute longer daily. To do this, I utilize two layers, one for commute times between 45 minutes and an hour, and one for income. The commute time layer displays the data with a choropleth system, with the darker backgrounds corresponding to the longer commute times. The centroids on the map represent income, with the darker red ones showing less income, and the lighter ones for more.”

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Digital map of Boston. A range of blues is used to indicate commute times with darker blue for longer and lighter blue for shorter. Dark and light red dots are placed on the map to indicate income, with darker red for lower income and lighter red for higher income.]

How many haunted or spooky sites can you spot on this 1905 map of Salem? 😱[Image Description: A sepia-toned map crisscro...
10/28/2023

How many haunted or spooky sites can you spot on this 1905 map of Salem? 😱

[Image Description: A sepia-toned map crisscrossed with named streets. Black squares denote named buildings including cemeteries, houses, jails, and more.]

Sidney Perly, "Map of Salem Mass." [1905]. https://bit.ly/46LyQTo

London’s rapid transit system is the oldest in the world, dating all the way back to 1863! Public transit began even ear...
10/26/2023

London’s rapid transit system is the oldest in the world, dating all the way back to 1863! Public transit began even earlier in 1829 with horse-drawn omnibuses, which were replaced by motor omnibuses by 1902. This map from 1895 includes railway stations, underground railways, tramways, and shared routes.

[Image description: Map of London. Underground railways are shown by dash lines. Railways are shown by thick, black lines. Omnibus and tramway routes are shown in light brown. Stations are shown by black dots.]

John Bartholomew, “New plan of London,” (1895). https://bit.ly/3EO1yqA

10/24/2023

How do you change a system that was never designed to be equitable? Join us on Monday, October 16 at 12:00 pm EDT with Veronica O. Davis for a virtual talk on her book, Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities.

In Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities, transportation expert Veronica O. Davis shines a light on the inequitable and often destructive practice of transportation planning and engineering. She calls for new thinking and more diverse leadership to create transportation networks that connect people to jobs, education, opportunities, and to each other.

Veronica O. Davis, PE, is a civil engineer, planner, transportation nerd, public speaker, community activist, guest lecturer, poet, blogger, lover of art, yogi, foodie, world explorer, wife, and mom. When she was twenty-two years old, she wrote a life strategic plan declaring that she would be a world-renowned transportation expert and an author with an eclectic collection of books across multiple genres. The clarity of that vision allows her to achieve her goals.

Hagstrom Company, the maker of this map, was started as a drafting business in 1916 by a Swedish immigrant named Andrew ...
10/24/2023

Hagstrom Company, the maker of this map, was started as a drafting business in 1916 by a Swedish immigrant named Andrew Hagstrom. To attract new business, he made a map of the shop’s location—It exaggerated the size of streets and allowed for clear labeling of details like addresses, transportation, and green space. The map was so popular that Hagstrom began selling copies—officially forming the Hagstrom Map Company in 1916. The company then made new maps of Manhattan, the rest of New York City, and surrounding regions, eventually offering 100 different maps. During the 1940s, Hagstrom’s design was even used for New York City’s official subway maps!

[Image description: Map of Brooklyn with labelled streets and house numbers. Shows subway lines and stations, elevated railway lines and stations, and railroads.]

Hagstrom Company, “Hagstrom's map of Brooklyn (New York City): house-number and subway guide,” (1927). https://bit.ly/3Znyj7G

Long Commutes, Extraordinary Students: Tackling the Issue of School Distribution in our City by Gavin McDermott,  studen...
10/22/2023

Long Commutes, Extraordinary Students: Tackling the Issue of School Distribution in our City by Gavin McDermott, student: “As displayed on my map, I used the transit system we have in Boston to better frame the distribution of 7-12 schools in the city. The yellow census tract layer shows the percentage of people using public transit for their commuting, with the lighter colors showing the higher percentages. The blue markers represent the current 7-12 specialized public schools in the city, (TechBoston Academy, Boston Green Academy, Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science). As a student living in West Roxbury and commuting to Boston Latin School, it makes the day excessively long with the added commute time. My proposal is in the form of the red markers. These are possible locations that are spread throughout the city that may be lacking a school similar to the pre-existing ones. They are on the end of subway lines, or in areas that seem separated from the rest of the city. This allows these possible schools to be accessible through the T, allowing students to get more sleep, improve test scores, and increase work productivity.”

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Digital map of Boston by transit ridership per census tract in a range of yellows. Shows MBTA subway lines by color, existing schools in blue markers, and possible schools in red markers.]

📢  We’re adding a new member to our team — could it be you writing this social media post? 👀 If you love maps and histor...
10/20/2023

📢 We’re adding a new member to our team — could it be you writing this social media post? 👀 If you love maps and historical geography, and want to share your enthusiasm with a wide audience of readers, viewers, and visitors, you could be a great fit. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3tLJWt6

In the late nineteenth century, the development of Boston’s metropolitan park system was spurred on by two key forms of ...
10/19/2023

In the late nineteenth century, the development of Boston’s metropolitan park system was spurred on by two key forms of transportation infrastructure: the electric street railway and the bicycle. Bicycling boomed in popularity during this time, as modern, inexpensive bicycles entered mass production and became an easily accessible form of go-anywhere mobility. This 1898 map above, commissioned by the League of American Wheelmen, shows how parks throughout the urban region were connected together by bicycle routes, depicted as red lines. Bicyclists were some of the earliest advocates for surface road improvements, and bicycling also offered an exciting opportunity for women to get around the city on their own at a time when the feminist movement was paving the way for women to spend time independently in public spaces. Bicycle infrastructure was mostly removed from streets as automobiles took over in the twentieth century, but many advocates today see it as an inexpensive and climate-friendly option for getting around. Bicycling also extends the range of other forms of transit by making it possible to travel further and faster from stations.

Getting Around Town: Four Centuries of Mapping Boston in Transit is now on display in our public gallery at Central Library in Copley Square. Learn more and plan a visit: https://bit.ly/3reS1WD

[Image description: Detailed map of Greater Boston region. Bicycling routes are down in red lines. Other features mapped include parks, roads, street railways, railroads and stations.]

Geo. H. Walker & Co. and League of American Wheelmen, “Road map of the Boston District Showing the Metropolitan Park System,” (1898).

[Image description: Digital map of Boston showing the bike network. Priority projects are shown in thick, green lines. Existing bike network is shown in thin, light blue lines.]

Boston Transportation Department, “Boston Bike Network,” from Go Boston 2030, (2017).

What are transportation collections? What can we learn from them? What do they tell us about policy choices and transit ...
10/18/2023

What are transportation collections? What can we learn from them? What do they tell us about policy choices and transit investment? Join us on Wednesday, November 15 at 12:00 pm EST with Rachel Cole of Northwestern University’s Transportation Library for a virtual talk on archiving the past and present of transportation.

Learn more and register at https://bit.ly/46gU8bf.

Address

700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA
02116

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 1pm - 7pm
Thursday 11am - 5pm
Friday 11am - 5pm
Saturday 11am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm

Telephone

(617) 859-2387

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