What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “map?” The tattered road atlas stuffed under the seat of your car? The large wall map in your dreaded high school history class? Or perhaps more romantic images of one-legged pirates and treasure maps marked with a big red “X”?
A new exhibition at LSU Libraries Special Collections explores the many different kinds of maps that have been produced from ancient times to the present as well as the many different meanings they have had. “Mariners, Meridians and Monsters: Exploring the History of Maps in Fact and Fiction,” will be on display in the upper gallery of LSU’s Hill Memorial Library beginning March 23 and running through August 15, 2009.
Highlights of the exhibition include Abraham Ortelius’ 1579 world atlas, Peter Heylin’s Cosmographie (1679), early maps of the Pacific and the poles, an 18th-century reproduction of the ancient Roman road map known as the Peutinger Table, archeological maps from Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, and even a map for the blind. There are also sections on humorous maps, maps in fiction and mythology, and bird’s-eye views.
The second half of the exhibition is devoted to maps of Louisiana. Included are Louis Hennepin’s 1683 map of North America (the first map to name Louisiana), important maps of the Mississippi River, an early Spanish plan of Baton Rouge, manuscript maps of local plantations, and a wide selection of other maps tracing the history of the Civil War, LSU, and tourism in Louisiana.
The library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. When classes are in session, the library is open Tuesdays until 8 p.m.
For more information on the exhibition, contact Michael Taylor, assistant curator of books, at (225) 578-6547.