Off the Map

Save the Date: April 10th Talk at the New York Public Library

March 23rd 2010

I’m giving a talk at the New York Public Library (the main building at 42nd and 5th, in the lower auditorium) with Roger Panetta, with whom I share the same views of history and the value of original documents (well, maps, of course) in education. Please come–no registration necessary, and no entrance fee.  The lecture is sponsored by the New York Map Society.Although we’re targeting educators, Roger and I think our observations will interest anyone intrigued by maps.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Breaking Borders: The New Map Scene
and what it means to Education

Connie Brown: “Mining Maps”

Mapmaker and owner of Redstone Studios, Ms. Brown will discuss the convergence of satellite mapping and the internet, and how the rise of cultural cartography creates a map explosion providing resources, creative inspiration, and tools for critical thinking. She will present new ways to read maps, explore the exuberant proliferation of serious and playful maps on the internet, the use of map imagery in fine arts, and the redemptive value of making maps by hand.

Roger Panetta: “Panoramic Maps and Reading the Landscape”

Fordham University Visiting Professor of History, Dr. Panetta will discuss the ways in which Wade & Croome’s 1846 Hudson River Panorama provided an engaging way to view the Hudson River landscape and became a rich tool for classroom instruction. For about one dollar—a bit more for a colored version—mid-nineteenth century Hudson River steamboat passengers could buy this small fold-out map to guide them along their river journey.


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.