Online Exhibits

The Challenge: Create an illustrated map of any place, real or imaginary. The Result: Almost 150 amazing maps by Maine 5th Graders!
The Challenge: Create an illustrated map of any place, real or imaginary. The Result: Almost 150 amazing maps by Maine 5th Graders!

The Osher Map Library has in its possession an impressive assortment of atlases, maps, and related materials from just prior to the formation of the Soviet Union to its downfall. The majority of the materials are in Russian, but some are multi-lingual. They provide a unique historical and geographical recording of the Soviet Union and insight into its transformations throughout the twentieth century.

OML’s Digital Imaging Center is engaged in an innovative project to three-dimensionally image the library’s rare globe collection, the second-largest of its kind in a U.S. public institution. Generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Friends of the Osher Map Library supported the conservation and subsequent 3D imaging of the collection's most threatened or valuable items.
Between 1798 and 1842, Maine’s northern border was a point of hot contention between the English and the newly formed United States of America. The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution, but did not clearly determine a northern boundary line separating the two governments. Following the war, the Commonwealth Massachusetts issued a series of land grants for its District of Maine, many of which the British had already laid claim to.

Since 1865, Mainers have erected nearly 150 monuments commemorating the Civil War, its soldiers, and the Union. This web exhibition features a few of Maine's more prominent monuments and compares and contrasts monument styles and locations. The images in this exhibition are courtesy of Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the text was prepared by Lucinda Coombs, a graduate student in USM's American and New England Studies.

Judith McCarthy Robbins' journal and collected ephemera from her tourist-class voyage in 1965 aboard the Cunard Line’s Sylvania, to and from New York to Liverpool, are used to explore the character of ocean-liner travel after the introduction of transatlantic air services. In particular, her journal reflects the feelings of dislocation and isolation commonly experienced by travelers as they crossed the ocean between the continents. Prepared by Matthew O. Carter (BA in History and Classics, University of Southern Maine, 2014).

The European attitude towards the Other largely depended on the images and descriptions available to them. Images on grand, impressive maps were intended for intellectuals, who were interested in, not only geography, but also anthropology and ecology. These subjects were once a single discipline, studying both the Earth and its inhabitants.

Lemuel Moody was born to a prominent Portland family in 1767. His father, Enoch, was a housewright and merchant, who encouraged his sons’ interest in the seafaring life. When Moody was 9, his brother, William, perished during the disastrous Penobscot Expedition of the American Revolution. But Moody was undeterred, and set off to start his own life at sea.

Leo Belgicus, the allegorical representation of the Low Countries as a lion, was a popular image during the Eighty Years War for independence from the Spanish. Leo Belgicus first appeared in Michaël von Aitzing’s Novus de Leone Belgico, published in 1583. For the next century, Dutch mapmakers often either modified Aitzing’s representation for their own purposes, or featured the lion as a symbol in a map cartouche or atlas title page.
The Osher Map Library’s collection of maps from and of the American Revolution may be divided into five major categories, based on who made them and what they were made for. Some were produced for planning military strategy. Others were intended to inform the general public in England, America, France, and Germany, each country using cartography as a medium for propaganda.

This web exhibit explores the events of the United States' westward expansion, including encroachment on Native American lands, major land purchases, and mass migrations such as the Oregon Trail and California Gold Rush.

The mapping of Route 66 reveals the road's status as a symbol for the freedom of the open road, the magic of auto travel, and the potential that lies in the American West. This online exhibition was prepared by Lucinda Hannington as part of her work for the MA in American and New England Studies, USM.

The maps in this online exhibition show some of the various relationships between reason and religion as the west attempted to find the center of the universe. Sometimes at odds with one another, religious and philosophical ideas may also coexist on the same map.

This history of the printed maps of Portland, Maine, from the early nineteenth century to the great fire of July 4th, 1866, is a history of how Portland was construed as a distinctive urban place, as a moral center of commerce, as a victim of perfidy, and as a site of remarkable and repeated rebirth and growth. In many respects, the story this special exhibition tells is unique: as with any other city, the mapping of Portland has shared in and indeed has helped to create the city’s exceptional character. In other ways, the story is rather generic: the kinds of pressures to map the city were felt in many other cities in the antebellum U.S. This combination of the individual with the general permits us to see, in some detail, how mapping practices can create and cement a sense of community.

An examination of the Jefferys-Green "Map of the most Inhabited Part of New England" (1755), its origins in William Douglass' unfinished "Plan," and its use for strategic planning by Hugh, Earl Percy, British general in Boston at the start of the Revolution.

An analysis of one of the most remarkable documents ever published: Christopher Columbus's letter announcing the success of his first voyage to the "islands of the Indian sea"; the 1494 Basel edition also includes the first printed map of the New World.

Although cartographers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries knew California was not an island, they continued to depict it in this way. This exhibition explores the reasons behind this ridiculous cartographic error, which persisted for over two centuries.

A study of the promotion and dissolution of British power in North America, charted upon OML's copy of a "red line" map, 1755-1898.

The Edo Period (or Tokugawa Period), was a time of great stability and cultural preservation in Japan, lasting from 1603 to 1868. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, was extremely suspicious of foreigners. He permitted only Chinese and Dutch merchants to land and trade in Nagasaki, in an attempt to prevent outsiders from influencing Japanese culture.