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 educational use of its cartographic holdings, which extend from the 15th century to the present.
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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.

Operating as usual

As the saying goes, March comes "in like a 🦁, and out like a πŸ‘," but is that really true? Here, we've visualized daily c...
03/31/2021

As the saying goes, March comes "in like a 🦁, and out like a πŸ‘," but is that really true? Here, we've visualized daily climate records in Boston in March from 1936 to 2020 in order to see which dates you're likely to find lions and lambs. Head through the link to click on an day to explore historic weather data!

https://march-lions-lambs.glitch.me/

[Image description: A grid of emojis of lions and sheep. Across the top are the numbers 1-31, and down the left side are years starting with 1936 and ascending.]

Climate data from NOAA. Visualization by the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.

03/30/2021
Steven Beaucher on "Boston in Transit"

Join Steven Beaucher, the co-founder and proprietor of WardMaps LLC and the author of the new book Boston In Transit, for a discussion of how his new book visualizes several centuries of public transit in Boston. Since Boston’s founding in 1630, public transportation has been critical for the city. Public ferries arrived with English colonists. Horse-drawn coaches, then steam railroads, and later, omnibuses, evolved to support a burgeoning city. Horse railroad and electric streetcar networks appeared in the nineteenth century, allowing Boston to densify and early suburbs to sprout. Unification, initially through private hands, and later, under public management, lead to the multi-modal, regional public transportation network in place today.

03/29/2021
Steven Beaucher on "Boston in Transit"

Join Steven Beaucher, the co-founder and proprietor of WardMaps LLC and the author of the new book Boston In Transit, for a discussion of how his new book visualizes several centuries of public transit in Boston. Since Boston’s founding in 1630, public transportation has been critical for the city. Public ferries arrived with English colonists. Horse-drawn coaches, then steam railroads, and later, omnibuses, evolved to support a burgeoning city. Horse railroad and electric streetcar networks appeared in the nineteenth century, allowing Boston to densify and early suburbs to sprout. Unification, initially through private hands, and later, under public management, lead to the multi-modal, regional public transportation network in place today.

Passover started this weekend! The celebration of Passover, or β€œPesach”, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Hebre...
03/29/2021

Passover started this weekend! The celebration of Passover, or β€œPesach”, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. A portion of this biblical map in our collections shows the crossing of the Red Sea, which is part of the story of the escape from Egypt chronicled in Exodus.

The map says: β€œHere the Children of Israel passed through the Red Sea and the waters were as a wall to them on the right hand and on the left and Pharaoh following them with all his host were drowned.” To all who celebrate: hope you enjoyed your virtual Seders!

[Image Description: A sepia-toned map shows a body of water labeled β€œThe Red Sea” surrounded by land, mountains, and tents and houses. A chariot pulled by horses and surrounded by men is in the middle of the sea. Other men stand safely on land on the other side.]

Thomas W. Duffield, β€œA new map of the Land of Promise and the holy city of Jerusalem…” (1823). https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:cj82kq64d

Hmmm... what's that we spy in the canal? Let's zoom in on this historic and prescient map from our collections![Image de...
03/26/2021

Hmmm... what's that we spy in the canal? Let's zoom in on this historic and prescient map from our collections!

[Image description: An old map titled A Bird's Eye View of the Suez Canal, showing a landscape extending far past a series of waterways in the foreground. The next picture is zoomed in on the portion labeled Suez Canal, with a container ship photoshopped in.]

We love when our maps are useful for people's research! Our website has several articles with examples, including our mo...
03/26/2021

We love when our maps are useful for people's research! Our website has several articles with examples, including our most recent one about the Andersonville prison, a notorious Confederate camp where thousands of Union prisoners of war died.

Retired National Park Service Archaeologist Guy Prentice recently discovered our copy of George W. Carleton's 1865 map of the Andersonville prison. Dr. Prentice has spent multiple field seasons doing archaeology at Andersonville National Historic Site, and coauthored numerous reports on the archaeology of the Andersonville Prison site over more than three decades during his NPS career.

In this guest article, he describes how the appearance of this map in our collections helped to unlock a mystery about the trial of one of the most controversial figures in Civil War history. Click through here to read the full article! https://www.leventhalmap.org/articles/a-civil-war-map-goes-on-trial/

Maybe our collection can help you with your research, too! Reach out anytime :)

[Image description: An old-looking map titled "Map of Andersonville" which is a vertical beige rectangle. There are a couple little splashes of color, a blue river and a little bit of green. Near the middle of the map is a structure labeled "Federal Prison."]

Oh, Wonders of the World! This week's #TeachingWithMaps resource is for you middle school Ancient Civ teachers out there...
03/25/2021

Oh, Wonders of the World! This week's #TeachingWithMaps resource is for you middle school Ancient Civ teachers out there who want to mix in some geography and maps. Maps from the European Age of Discovery are full of Greek and Roman references so dig into the zodiac or the 7 wonders of the world.

Where and what was the Colossus? Or the Temple of Artemis? Check out the link to this map set here: https://collections.leventhalmap.org/map-sets/10

[Image description: An image of the Colossus of Rhodes shows the statue at the entrance to a harbor with a ship sailing between his legs. Rhodes is in the background and shows buildings and many other ships in the harbor.]

Willem Janszoon Blaeu. "Noua totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula." 1638. Full map at https://bit.ly/3u6TwlB

Check out this map of sea level pressure from March of yesteryear! March 22-26 of 1958, to be exact. If you're wondering...
03/24/2021

Check out this map of sea level pressure from March of yesteryear! March 22-26 of 1958, to be exact. If you're wondering why it's grey today and not sunny like it has been, it's a question of pressure!

Atmospheric pressure, or the weight of air above any given point, was first measured using a barometer in the 17th century, and is one of the main elements that combine to make weather along with temperature and precipitation. Sea-level pressure is the atmospheric pressure at sea level for any given location. This mid-20th-century nautical atlas made on behalf of the U.S. Air Force, with a viewpoint from the North Pole, presents sea-level pressure readings in the northern hemisphere. The solid and dashed lines, known as isobars, represent areas of equal pressure. Variations in pressure can be analyzed by meteorologists to see high or low pressure areas.

[Image description: A world map in red lines of the Northern hemisphere as viewed from the North Pole is swirled by black isobaric lines denoting pressure differences.]

James Frederick Lahey. "March 17-21 ; March 22-26." 1958. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:q524n3983

It's World Meteorological Day! This map of the United States shows monthly average temperature from 1931-1960. The large...
03/23/2021

It's World Meteorological Day! This map of the United States shows monthly average temperature from 1931-1960. The large map in the center uses bar graphs to track temperature throughout the year for major cities.

The thickness of the red and blue lines show the range of average temperatures in those 30 years. The smaller maps around the central map show temperature for a given month using isotherms--lines connecting points that have the same temperature--and a color scale from cold blues to warm reds.

[Image description: A large map of the United States in the center, with 12 smaller maps of the US around the edges. The central map is orange with small bar graphs next to major cities that show how temperature changes throughout the year. The smaller maps are shaded in reds and blues to show the temperature in each month, starting with January in the upper left and going clockwise.]

U.S. Geological Survey. β€œMonthly Average Temperature.” 1986. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:q524n4016

Today is World Water Day! We're celebration with this colorful map that shows a 17th-century model of the interior of th...
03/22/2021

Today is World Water Day! We're celebration with this colorful map that shows a 17th-century model of the interior of the Earth. Created by Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher and published in "Mundus Subterraneus", his book on geology, it illustrates how tides were caused by water moving between a subterranean ocean and the oceans on the surface.

Kircher hypothesized that all bodies of water were connected by a system of underground waterways. Oceanic whirlpools fed into these channels, which in turn fed mountain springs, creating a cycle of water above and below ground. He also placed a vast fireball in the center of the earth, suggesting that this inferno caused lava and water to rise from Earth’s interior.

[Image description: An image of the interior of the Earth. A fireball at the center has tendrils leading to volcanos on the surface. Around the fireball is a network of underground lakes and rivers, connected to oceans on the surface of the earth. The Earth is surrounded by grey clouds with four windheads in the corners.]

Athanasius Kircher. "Systema ideale quo exprimitur, aquarum per canales hydragogos subterraneos...." [1668?]. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:n8710p88b

You probably already know about our city atlases (the ones you can find in Atlascope), but did you know that we also hav...
03/19/2021

You probably already know about our city atlases (the ones you can find in Atlascope), but did you know that we also have hundreds of other atlases of towns in Massachusetts? While many of our town atlases are similar to those in Atlascope, with parcel level property information, today we are here to talk about a different kind of atlas you may not have heard about: town boundaries atlases!

Town Boundaries atlases are amazing. They show the legal borders of all the towns in Massachusetts, using triangulation stations (a term used by surveyors). Many of these locations come with extremely detailed closeup maps and even photos! In the Kingston town boundary atlas pictured here, you can see a map and photo of the bay bordering the Jones River, where Kingston and Duxbury meet. The photo is from 1899.

Want to explore the town boundary maps in your town, but worried the library isn't open yet? Fear not. Today we are launching our newest tool β€” a webmap (https://geoservices.leventhalmap.org/town-corners/) for accessing all the town corners maps from your computer or phone! In general, you can also always reach out to us about any place, and we will send you maps galore.

For anyone interested in GIS and how we made the webtool, we have a blog post on our website with some background on how we made the map. You can read about this and more in our monthly GIS wrapup, Get to Know Your Data: https://www.leventhalmap.org/articles/massdot-town-corners/

[Image description: 5 images in a carousel. The first is a photo of an open book with a map on the left page and text on the right. The second is a map pf the boundaries of Kingston, MA. The third shows the border between Duxbury and Kingston. The fourth is a photo of a landscape with a marker at the center, from a book. The photo is labeled "Corner 16 (W.M. Looking southerly) 1899." The fifth image is our webmap! It is a map of Massachusetts with blue dots scattered around everywhere that represent the plethora of data now at your disposal.]

This week's #TeachingwithMaps resource combines maps with award-winning novels for children and young adults. Students e...
03/18/2021

This week's #TeachingwithMaps resource combines maps with award-winning novels for children and young adults. Students explore the idea of "home" as well as forced and coerced displacement within the United States throughout the 19th and 20th centuries from the Trail of Tears to the Great Migration.

The link for Finding Home: Displacement and Migration, 1830s to 1960s is here:
https://collections.leventhalmap.org/map-sets/467

H.S. Crocker & Co. "The southwestern railroad system United States and Mexico." 1882. https://bit.ly/3eSlwoD

[Image description: A blue and white map detail shows an image of a ship and the distances between New Orleans and locations such as Liverpool and Hamburg.]

03/17/2021
Boston By Map 3/17

Join the Leventhal Map and Education Center for a virtual session on historical geography! Bring your lunch, map questions, and enthusiasm.

We're celebrating the double holiday of St. Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day today with the beautiful green hue on this ...
03/17/2021

We're celebrating the double holiday of St. Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day today with the beautiful green hue on this plate from a 1938 Boston atlas! What green space in Boston will you visit today?

To go to this or any Boston park virtually, check out atlascope.leventhalmap.org! Enjoy πŸ’š

[Image description: A photo of an old map of a city, with vibrant green, blue, and pink. The focus is on a park area labeled "City of Boston" with the Muddy River flowing through it.]

Do you teach about Boston history or contemporary issues? Do you want to incorporate more maps and mapping into your cla...
03/16/2021

Do you teach about Boston history or contemporary issues? Do you want to incorporate more maps and mapping into your classroom? Then you should be a 2021 Carolyn A. Lynch Teacher Fellow!

Fellows receive a $1000 stipend and will be a part of a virtual cohort of teachers for this summer. For more information and to apply, visit: https://www.leventhalmap.org/education/k12/2021-lynch-summer-teacher-fellowship/

Image: Boston Planning and Development Agency. "Boston neighborhoods." Map. 2017. https://bit.ly/3ljrLCR

[Image Description: A multi-colored map of Boston shows the top 10 countries of birth for foreign-born populations across neighborhoods in Boston. Different countries are shown like a "word cloud" with larger words representing more people in those areas from that country."]

Have you ever wanted to make a map of data to explore and visualize the world around you, but didn't know where to start...
03/15/2021

Have you ever wanted to make a map of data to explore and visualize the world around you, but didn't know where to start?

Our free three-part series, Making Sense of Maps & Data, is a hands-on, interactive workshop that will equip you with the skills and techniques to begin working with geographic data, from small clusters of points on a neighborhood map to "big data" sets with millions of observations. No prior experience is necessary!

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/making-sense-of-maps-data-tickets-145130383885

These three sessions will be delivered remotely. Participants should be able to commit to all three sessions in the sequence.

Session 1: Monday, April 5, 4:30–5:30pm
Session 2: Monday, April 12, 4:30–5:30pm
(Break for school vacation week)
Session 3: Monday, April 26, 4:30–5:30pm

*If you are a public school teacher: Click "enter promo code" when registering and enter "TEACHER." All registration for this event is free, but we are holding reserved seats for current teachers!*

**As of March 15, tickets for non-teachers are currently sold out. If you would like to join the waitlist, please click the Register button and choose "Join Waitlist."**

This project is supported by the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub.

03/15/2021
Boston By Map 3/17

Join the Leventhal Map and Education Center for a virtual session on historical geography! Bring your lunch, map questions, and enthusiasm.

This week's #TeachingWithMaps resource is Mapping the Nez Perce War (1877). Created by cartographer Margaret Pearce and ...
03/12/2021

This week's #TeachingWithMaps resource is Mapping the Nez Perce War (1877). Created by cartographer Margaret Pearce and Nez Perce Cultural Resources Program Director Nakia Williamson, students analyze maps of the Nez Perce War by an American soldier, two Nez Perce War veterans, and a Cheyenne soldier. Students compare the similarities and differences between the maps and consider what the distinctions have to do with the way the stories/histories of the war are understood.

Access it on our Tools for Teachers page:
https://collections.leventhalmap.org/educators/curriculum-materials/126

[Image Description: Detail from a hand drawn map showing Elements of the Battle of Big Hole, on August 9, 1877. In the lower, rotated 180 degrees, is the Nez Perce camp on the Big Hole River prior to that battle. Both appear to be underlain by a light pencil map of the lower Montana route of the Nez Perce, including the Big Hole, Cornchalic, and Yellowstone rivers.]

Battle of Big Hole / Nez Perce Camp [1877], by Peopeotaalikt. 1927. Courtesy of the Washington State University Libraries Digital Collections website, the Lucullus V. McWhorter Collection
https://bit.ly/3etNqad

Last night we had so much fun with Maptime Boston and the Boston Map Society showing off maps from the Boston Redevelopm...
03/11/2021

Last night we had so much fun with Maptime Boston and the Boston Map Society showing off maps from the Boston Redevelopment Authority Collection! This recently digitized collection has plenty of gems like the one shown here, depicting a cultural development project in downtown Boston. To read more about this map and the collection, click through the link here: https://www.leventhalmap.org/articles/showtime-in-downtown-boston/

[Image description: Street map of downtown Boston with a colorful section in the middle. The streets are yellow and the buildings are blue, gray, and purple.]

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700 Boylston St
Boston, MA
02116

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The Leventhal Map Center has a particular interest in developing innovative uses of maps and geographic materials to engage young people’s curiosity about the world, thereby enhancing their understanding of geography, history, world cultures, and citizenship.

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Center is closed now.
Really enjoying Bending Lines. Is there any chance it will become a physical book? Be very useful for educators
All you map lovers out there.....if you have not visited this site you are missing out. Pretty amazing. Pick your town/city and zoom in.....enjoy!