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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The Norman B. 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.

Mission: 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.

Open games all afternoon at the Map Center!Friday, February 21, 12:30-3pm (drop in)Geography card games, board games and...
02/21/2020

Open games all afternoon at the Map Center!

Friday, February 21, 12:30-3pm (drop in)

Geography card games, board games and internet games. Learn about the world while having fun. Best for grades 3 and up.

We have two fun activities planned today for students on vacation week! Come to the Map Center and join us:Geography Bin...
02/21/2020

We have two fun activities planned today for students on vacation week! Come to the Map Center and join us:

Geography Bingo
Friday, February 21, 11am - 12:30pm.
Bring your geographic knowledge and map curiosity and win prizes. Best for grades 3 and up; please register in advance: www.eventbrite.com/e/89598171543

Open Games
Friday, February 21, 12:30-3pm (drop in)
Geography card games, board games and internet games. Learn about the world while having fun! Grades 3 and up.

This #map of the seventh ward of #Philadelphia is from W. E. B. Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Du Boi...
02/21/2020

This #map of the seventh ward of #Philadelphia is from W. E. B. Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Du Bois was an early sociologist who pioneered collecting and using data, especially data about Black people. For some #Blackhistory, let's take a moment to dive in and look at what our map shows!

At the bottom of this map is a key, listing the 4 different “grades” of Black Philadelphians. The lowest, Grade 4, is labeled here as “The vicious and criminal classes.” In the section of the book that explains the map, he describes this group as “The lowest class of criminals, prostitutes, and loafers ; the “submerged tenth.”” This last term may stand out to those familiar with Du Bois’s work. Several years later, he published an essay on the “Talented Tenth,” those who he believed could improve the lot of all Black Americans through education and hard work.

Sociology was a burgeoning field when this book was published in 1899. The rhetoric about class especially was tinged with a sort of bootstrap ideology: people should be able to pull themselves out of poverty with hard work, and lower class status was reflective of low morals and laziness. While Du Bois came to challenge and reject these ideas later, the language he uses to describe some of the residents of Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century is problematic.

Later in his life, Du Bois began to believe that grassroots efforts were actually effective and necessary to solving “The Negro Problem.” The seeds of this belief can be found in the data collected in The Philadelphia Negro. While he describes some as the “deserving poor,” implying a class of poor people who are undeserving of help, he also talks about systemic issues like higher rents for Black Philadelphians, what he calls “color prejudice” in hiring and wages, and much more.

To view the whole map, check out the link in our bio! There are also several copies of the book in the @bplboston collection.

[Image description: A map of several city blocks, with buildings colored in black, blue, green, and red. Below the map is a key for each color, ranging from "Grade 4: The vicious and criminal classes," to "Grade 1: The "Middle Classes" and those above."]

Du Bois, W. E. B. "The Seventh Ward of Philadelphia." 1899. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:gb19h9947

Join us today for one of our Vacation Week programs!Program: Art Making with Maps⁠⁠Date and Time: Tuesday, February 18, ...
02/18/2020

Join us today for one of our Vacation Week programs!

Program: Art Making with Maps⁠

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 18, 10am - 2pm (drop in)

Location: Learning Center at the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library⁠

Activity: Explore grids, circles, imaginary landscapes, and of course maps! Four different map-based art activities explore map concepts and use maps as materials. Make something to take home with you. Best for ages 5 and up.⁠

Happy, mappy Valentine's day! If your honey loves geography, this 17th century set of playing cards is the most romantic...
02/14/2020

Happy, mappy Valentine's day! If your honey loves geography, this 17th century set of playing cards is the most romantic gift you could hope to find. Each continent is a different suit-- here, we see Europe as hearts. The two cards we're looking at are the states bordering France, or the 6 of hearts, and Italy, the dame or queen.

Whether your queen today is your best friend, your significant other, or a nerdy geography-inspired game, have a lovely and lovey day!

❤️❤️

[Image description: Two rectangles side by side, each with a heart in the upper left-hand corner. They both have a list of place names in French. On the left is titled "les Estats Frontieres de France sont --" and the one on the right is titled "L'Italie" and has a woman's portrait drawn at the top.]

Duval, P. and Cordier, Robert, (Engraver). "Les tables de geographie, reduites en un jeu de cartes." 1669. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:q524n425s

Whether ancient or new, be they vector or raster, maps make our hearts beat a little bit faster!💓If you haven't gotten y...
02/13/2020

Whether ancient or new, be they vector or raster, maps make our hearts beat a little bit faster!

💓

If you haven't gotten your sweetie something for Valentine's Day yet, not to worry. Roses are traditional, but we're sure this compass rose from a copy of a 1664 map of New York will do the trick!

Hayward, George, Tyler, Henry D. and Bridgman, E. C. "A description of the towne of Mannados or New Amsterdam." 1859. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:4m90f293z

Reminder! Registration for Geography Bingo during Vacation Week is now open:⁠ www.eventbrite.com/e/89598171543⁠⁠Date and...
02/12/2020

Reminder! Registration for Geography Bingo during Vacation Week is now open:⁠ www.eventbrite.com/e/89598171543⁠

Date and Time: Friday, February 21, 11am - 12:30pm⁠
Location: Learning Center at the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library⁠

Bring your geographic knowledge and map curiosity and win prizes. Grades 3 and up, please register in advance (drop-ins are also welcome!).

In celebration of Ansel Adams birthday on this date in 1902, we share this detail from a map of Yosemite Valley. Adams w...
02/10/2020

In celebration of Ansel Adams birthday on this date in 1902, we share this detail from a map of Yosemite Valley. Adams was an environmental activist and strong supporter of the National Park System. His photography inspired others to both explore the wilderness and protect the land. Adams grew up in California, and Yosemite (@yosemitenps) was one of his primary sources of inspiration.

Yosemite Valley, documented in this map from 1870, did not become a National Park until 1890, twenty years after its publication. The area had been set aside as a state preserve in 1864 and this map was produced shortly after as part of one of the four Great Western Surveys. The cartographer used a traditional method of hachuring—drawing ink strokes along sloped land—to depict the rugged terrain of these unusual landscapes.

In this detail Half Dome is visible in the center right side. This landmark was captured by Adams in one of his most famous photographs entitled, "Monolith, the Face of Half Dome," published to great acclaim in 1927. Looking under Half Dome in this detail, the cartographer’s hatch marks can be seen quite clearly.

Clarence King (1842-1901) and James T. Gardiner (1842-1912)
Map of the Yosemite Valley …
Washington, D.C., 1870. Printed map, 19.25 x 28 inches. Leventhal Map and Education Center.

Do you love #Blackhistory and #datavisualization? If so, you're in luck!! This image is now on display as a part of our ...
02/07/2020

Do you love #Blackhistory and #datavisualization? If so, you're in luck!! This image is now on display as a part of our exhibit #AmericaTransformed, but ours isn't the first exhibit it's been a part of! In 1900, it was one of many in two series of charts, graphs, and maps put together by W. E. B. Du Bois and his colleagues at Atlanta University for the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

This is a visually arresting image-- most of it is completely blacked out, with a bright edge of green at the top and along the precipitous decline at the right. It shows the percentage of Black Americans held in bondage each decade, probably using census data. In his series on Black life in Georgia and the one this comes from using national and international statistics, Du Bois used data from government sources, but also data he himself collected as part of the cutting edge of early sociology.

All the posters from these series are like this one in terms of their innovation. Before the 19th century, there was very little in terms of data visualization. The line graph and bar chart were only invented in 1786. So in terms of their facts and figures, but also the work put into them by black scholars and artists, these images push back against the social Darwinism and anti-Black race science prevalent at the time.

Du Bois's series stands in contrast to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which had no representation of Black contributions to America's prowess, and to the other exhibits at the Exposition Universelle, which maintained a pro-imperialism stance and lauded white progress. These images, on the other hand, celebrate Black progress since slavery, during and after Reconstruction.

For more on this, we highly recommend W. E. B. Du Bois's Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America, edited by Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert. The posters from the series The Exhibit of American Negroes are now held by @librarycongress, and you can see this one in detail on their site, https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.33913/.

[Image description: A square chart mostly in black with a green edge at the top and right side. The black section is labeled SLAVES, and the green FREE.]

Welcome back to #windheadwednesday, map-lovers! Meet Favonius, the Roman wind god of plants and flowers. His name means ...
02/05/2020

Welcome back to #windheadwednesday, map-lovers! Meet Favonius, the Roman wind god of plants and flowers. His name means "favorable," and his return at this time of year used to signal the coming of Spring in Rome! It seems a little early to us here in Boston, but we'll take it.

This little guy appears on the first map ever printed in two colors! You can see the full digitized version on our website, here: https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:3f462s192

[Image description: A somewhat sad or bored-looking disembodied head blows wind and sits on a cloud. To the left in red is printed FAVO, on the right NIUS. Below him is some vertical text in black and red and the top edge of a curved map.]

February Vacation is right around the corner! The Map Center has some special events planned for students, we hope you c...
02/04/2020

February Vacation is right around the corner! The Map Center has some special events planned for students, we hope you can join us:

Tuesday, February 18, 10am - 2pm (drop in)
Art Making with Maps
Explore grids, circles, imaginary landscapes, and of course maps! Four different map-based art activities explore map concepts and use maps as materials. Make something to take home with you. Best for ages 5 and up.

Friday, February 21, 11am - 12:30pm
Geography Bingo
Bring your geographic knowledge and map curiosity and win prizes! Grades 3 and up. Register here: www.eventbrite.com/e/89598171543

Friday, February 21, 12:30-3pm
12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Open Games Drop-In
Geography card games, board games and internet games
Learn about the world while having fun! Grades 3 and up.

These #mapmonsters have all applied to be a part of our #NEHsummer Landmarks of American History and Culture workshop! I...
02/03/2020

These #mapmonsters have all applied to be a part of our #NEHsummer Landmarks of American History and Culture workshop! If you, like them, are a teacher looking to incorporate maps into your classroom, apply here: http://newworld.leventhalmap.org/application-information-and-instructions/ The March 1st deadline will be here before you can say #mapmonstermonday!

Come see a map collection that can do it all!
01/23/2020

Come see a map collection that can do it all!

Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library
01/23/2020

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

Today is #MLKJDay2020 and the library is closed! Here's a map from our collections to tide you over. This map ties toget...
01/20/2020

Today is #MLKJDay2020 and the library is closed! Here's a map from our collections to tide you over. This map ties together our current exhibit, #AmericaTransformed, and the life of Dr. King. It is a crop from a map of military operations around Atlanta, King's birthplace, in 1864, 100 years before he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

America Transformed, Part II (up through May 2020) is an exhibit on the changing geographies of the nation from 1862-1900. The beginning of this period, the Civil War, had to do with a very literal transformation of American geographies. Borders were established, moved, and defended. On this map, the thin red and blue lines represent works built by the Confederacy and the Union respectively. The thicker, patterned blue lines at the top represent movement of the Union Army.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born long after the end of the Civil War. However, the scars of the war were and are still a part of the American landscape. Atlanta is home to a cemetery where 3000 Confederate soldiers are buried. It also contains several monuments to the "Lost Cause" of the Confederacy, and battlefields that have been swallowed up and developed, made part of the city. King grew up with histories of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction all in his backyard.

As we move into #BlackHistoryMonth2020 next week, let's consider these histories as well as those in which King participated, and how they contribute to contemporary American geography.

United States. War Dept. Office of the Chief of Engineers. "Map V illustrating the military operations of the Atlanta campaign ... 1864." 1877. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:3f463439s

01/16/2020

The Leventhal Map & Education Center team is so excited to announce a brand new tool for finding and using historical urban atlases.

For researching urban history in the US, urban atlases, like the ones that were produced for fire insurance surveys, are some of the most important resources. But because these atlases are physically clumsy, and broken up page-by-page into areas covering usually only a few city blocks, it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for, and even more difficult to compare across time.

Thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), we’ve been taking our urban atlases and transforming them into continuous, zoomable web layers. That takes a ton of hand labor identifying control points and mosaicing the pages together at their boundaries, a process which our interns have been taking on with great zeal.

On top of that GIS work, we’ve built a brand new web interface which automatically pulls up the atlases which cover an area you’re interested in. Atlascope allows you to compare historic atlases to one another and to modern maps, and then find the original items in the library collections. It’s an amazing resource for anyone interested in exploring how Boston has changed over time.

USE THE TOOL:

The link to the tool is here:
https://atlascope.leventhalmap.org/

EVENTS:

• To celebrate the release of Atlascope, we are hosting a pub trivia night 🍻 on January 28th at the Central branch of BPL: beer, Boston geography trivia, and map prizes!

• We will also be hosting local community history nights using the app, and other carto & photographic materials to explore local histories. The first events are at the BPL branches in Jamaica Plain on February 3rd, and Charlestown on February 20th.

Boston Map Trivia Night - January 28th:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-map-trivia-night-tickets-89979837115

JP by Map - February 3rd:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jamaica-plain-by-map-tickets-89052322895

Charlestown by Map- February 20th: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/charlestown-by-map-tickets-90140050317

Reminder: Margaret Pearce will be joining us tomorrow, January 14th, for a discussion in regards to how the United State...
01/13/2020

Reminder: Margaret Pearce will be joining us tomorrow, January 14th, for a discussion in regards to how the United States achieved its 19th-century policy of expansionism across the midwestern and western regions of the continent by aggressively enacting policies of dispossession and genocide at the state and federal level against Indigenous people. Maps from that time period were both the mechanisms for, and witnesses to, the betrayals of justice that made the violence of dispossession and extermination possible.

Presented as part of America Transformed: Mapping the 19th Century now on view at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center. For more information and to register: https://bit.ly/2sk5pds

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the maps which will be used in our #NEHsummer workshop, Mapping a New World: Places of Con...
01/08/2020

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the maps which will be used in our #NEHsummer workshop, Mapping a New World: Places of Conflict and Colonization in 17th Century New England! If you’re a teacher, especially for grades 3-12 or in a museum setting, please consider applying for this grant-funded workshop which will take place July 2020. More info & application here: http://newworld.leventhalmap.org/application-information-and-instructions/

This detail from a 1624 map of New England includes Captain John Smith’s coat of arms and his motto: vincere est vivere. In Latin, this means “to conquer is to live.” These words are fitting for the first map devoted specifically to this region, based on Smith’s 1614 exploration of the New England coast.

Smith was commissioned to survey the coastline north of New York in preparation for the settlement of an English colony. This map was used to guide the Pilgrims to Plymouth, and also led John Winthrop to the Charles River in 1629. When English colonists arrived in Plymouth and Shawmut, Native people already lived in the area. The ensuing conflicts between settler and Native populations are the subject of our Landmarks of American History and Culture workshop.

Smith, John. "New England." 1624. https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:3f462s64w

Address

700 Boylston St
Boston, MA
02116

General information

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.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 19:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 19:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 19:00
Thursday 10:00 - 19:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(617) 859-2387

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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!