Off the Map

History is one f****** thing after another (Alan Bennett, The History Boys), Part I

November 29th 2009

Maybe, maybe not.

On November 18th, I participated in “Educators’ Evening,” a function at New York’s American Museum of Natural History.  Surrounded  by one of our globes,  a print of our most illustrious map (The Hudson River and its Watershed),  and some map-related educational material I’d developed, I talked to a slew of teachers  about cultural cartography and about mapmaking as a student activity. I think I have some pretty good ideas, and I was heartened by conversations with creative and dedicated teachers. I dozed through history when I was a kid:  dull textbooks, teachers blathering on.  I think I’d have come to life in the right hands and with good materials.

If you’re an educator interested in maps, chime in.  And stay tuned:  under the auspices of  The New York Map Society, I’m organizing a symposium on cartography in the classroom to be held (tentatively) at the New York Public Library on April 10th, 2010.  What I have in mind is a forum for the free flow of ideas. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, know that the AMNH regularly holds these free events for teachers.  This one involved a reception with really great food (in case you happen to bestarving young educator), a free tour of their new Silk Road exhibit, live Silk Road music, talks, and an opportunity to talk to organizations providing educational resources, including Redstone Studios.   For info, visit the museum’s website.