Note: Please Register for events at Osher Map Library’s Eventbrite Page

Upcoming Events

Lecture: Mapping the 2020 Election (Annual Mattson-New York Times Lecture) [Rescheduled]

Wednesday, December 9th, 6pm-7:30pm
Lecture will be presented virtually

Register for this event on the Osher Map Library Eventbrite page

This talk will provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the New York Times used maps and geography to help readers understand the political makeup of the country during one of the most complicated election years in recent memory.

Presenter: Tim Wallace, PhD, Senior Editor for Geography, The New York Times Image courtesy of Tim Wallace, The New York Times.

Lecture: “Make the Map All White:” The Use of Maps in the Suffrage and Prohibition Campaigns

Wednesday, December 2, 6pm-7:30pm
Lecture will be presented virtually

Register for this event on the Osher Map Library Eventbrite page

Maps were essential instruments in two of the most ambitious challenges to American law in the twentieth century: the suffrage and prohibition campaigns. Persuasive maps have long been deployed in American history and were especially important in generating opposition to slavery in the west in the 1850s. These early examples served as a model for the prohibitionists and suffragists, who used similar visual tools to broaden support for their respective legislation in the early twentieth century. Both movements began with regional strengths—suffrage in the west, prohibition in the south—and the maps leveraged that regional power to create momentum. As suffrage and prohibition pivoted from state level campaigns to federal amendments after 1913, the maps were used to establish and amplify support across the entire nation. A closer look at the common slogan, “Make the Map All White,” reveals the degree to which both movements navigated racial and ethnic divisions in order to achieve their legislative and constitutional goals.

Presenter: Susan Schulten, PhD, Professor of History, University of Denver

The Texas Freedom Colonies Project Atlas & Study: Mapping the Unmapped Black Settlements of Texas

Wednesday, February 3, 6pm-7:30pm
Lecture will be presented virtually

Please join us for a lecture about the Freedom Colonies Project and Atlas and a lively Q and A with Dr. Andrea Roberts. 

From 2014 to the present, The Texas Freedom Colonies Project founder, Dr. Andrea Roberts has documented Black settlement heritage and grassroots preservation practice among descendants of these historic communities. Freedom colonies (an umbrella term for Black settlements, Black towns, enclaves, or freedmen’s towns) are everywhere–hidden behind the pine curtain of the rural countryside and underneath the concrete landscapes of Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Beaumont.  Until recently, planners have overlooked unmapped freedom colonies located in rural or unincorporated areas. Inspired by her own familial roots in freedom colonies, social justice, and the book Freedom Colonies by Thad Sitton, planning scholar, Dr. Roberts makes these places visible through her participatory action and ethnographic research. The result: old voices given new purposes, old stories making new maps, old places made visible and relevant. 

Presenter: Dr. Andrea Roberts, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and an Associate Director of the Center for Housing & Urban Development at Texas A&M University. She is also the founder of The Texas Freedom Colonies Project.

Past Events

Lecture: Visualizing the Holocaust (First Annual DiMatteo Lecture)

Wednesday, October 21, 6pm-7:30pm
Lecture will be presented virtually

Register for this event on the Osher Map Library Eventbrite page

The Holocaust was an intensely geographical event that affected people and places across Europe and beyond. This lecture will present dynamic, creative maps and other visualizations from the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative, whose interdisciplinary work has helped inspire the “spatial turn” in Holocaust Studies.

Presenter: Anne K. Knowles, PhD, McBride Professor of History, University of Maine, and Co-Founder of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative  

Image credit: Graphic rendering of the universe of SS concentration and labor camps by Erik B. Steiner, reproduced from Anne Kelly Knowles, et al., “Mapping the SS Camps,” in Knowles, et al., eds., Geographies of the Holocaust (Indiana University Press 2014).

Exhibition Opening: “Mapping Maine: The Land and Its Peoples, 1677-1842”

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Saturday, September 12th 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Opening Lecture to be presented virtually
Exhibition on display in the OML Gallery, Fall 2020

Register for this event on the Osher Map Library Eventbrite page

Please join us for the opening reception and lecture of our Maine Bicentennial exhibit: “Mapping Maine: The Land and Its Peoples, 1677-1842,” curated by OML Faculty Scholar, Dr. Matthew Edney.

Workshop: “Teaching Maine with Primary Sources”

Thursday, August 20, 2020
9:00am to 1:00pm
Hosted over Zoom

Explore ways to teach the history of the land that is now called Maine and its peoples through various types of primary sources. Geared towards middle and high school teachers, this workshop includes presenters from Akomawt Educational Initiative, Maine Historical Society, Maine Department of Education, and the Osher Map Library. Workshop capped at 40 participants

Presenter & Session Information:

Akomawt Educational Initiative: endawnis Spears and Chris Newell
The Akomawt Educational Initiative was born out of our professional experience in museum and classroom education. Our founders, as they worked together, saw an ever-growing need to supply regional educators with the tools to implement competent education on Native history and Native contemporary issues. We also saw the need to provide Native-sourced resources on contemporary issues affecting Native America. The Akomawt Educational Initiative is here to supply that need. Education is the tool that binds what we do with classroom educators, professors and university administrators, curators and museum professionals, but also in how Native peoples are looked at and talked about in this country. We work to create a more inclusive environment in all of the spaces we educate and make community. By honoring the voices of Native peoples in our shared educational work, we hope to create a better world for all. We hope you will join us on the snowshoe path. (See more at

Maine Historical Society Presentations: Kathleen Neumann and Brittany Cook
Participants will learn about how to use Maine Memory Network and the research tools Maine Historical Society to access primary sources and lesson plans, with a special emphasis on what MHS has created and highlighted for Maine’s Bicentennial. Using the resources of MHS teachers (and students) can find, save, and use primary source documents of local, state, and national significance, share lesson plans and interactive classroom activities, and develop partnerships and projects with historical organizations in the community. We will also discuss opportunities for schools to visit.

Osher Map Library & Smith Center for Cartographic Education
Dr. Matthew Edney, Dr. Libby Bischof, and Renee Keul are pleased to lead participants through a exploration of the primary sources in the collections of the Osher Map Library. Participants will learn how to access and use maps and other items through the Osher Map Library’s website and the digital repositories of other cartographic archives.

Register at Eventbrite

Lecture: “Penobscot Sense of Place: The Relationship Between Land, Language, and Penobscot Culture”

Presented by James E. Francis, Sr.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 6:00pm
Hannaford Hall, Portland

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Director of the Office of Historic and Cultural Preservation at the Penobscot Nation and tribal historian, James E. Francis Sr. (Penobscot) will unpack stories about the origin and meaning of geographic place names in what is now known as Maine from a Wabanaki perspective. Wabanaki, part of the Algonkian language group, is the first language of Maine, and each tribe has a distinct language that expresses worldview. The original words of this land – Casco, Katahdin, Kennebec, Androscoggin, Pemaquid – can be found on any map of Maine today. As settlers colonized Maine with a dominant English language system, they named towns after their founding fathers or English homelands, resulting in a situation where Wabanaki people are now living in a deeply familiar place populated with foreign words. In his presentation, Mr. Francis will illuminate the relationship between natural resources, place names, and Wabanaki worldview. And through place names, Mr. Francis reveals the continued legacies of colonial violence on the landscape as well as the continuation of Indigenous adaptation, endurance, and resistance. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, but particularly educators, to learn from a master historian, teacher, artist, and speaker!

The lecture will take place in Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Center on USM’s Portland Campus.

Sponsored by the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine, and the Wabanaki Studies Initiative of the Portland Public Schools.

Register at Eventbrite

Creative Mapmaking Workshop

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Workshop led by Shawn Martel
Saturday, February 29th
12:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Osher Map Library & SCCE, 314 Forest Ave, Portland

Shawn Martel will guide attendees through an introduction to making maps of fictional worlds. This event is limited to 25 attendees, ages 12 and up.

Register at Eventbrite

Peskotomuhkatik yut: This is Passamaquoddy Territory

Presentation by Roger Paul and Newell Lewey
Thu, January 23, 2020
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EST
Hannaford Hall, 88 Bedford Street, Portland

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On Thursday, January 23rd, 2020, from 5pm-6:30pm at Hannaford Hall, Abromson Center, USM’s Portland Campus, Passamaquoddy language teachers and linguists Roger Paul and Newell Lewey will discuss the relationship between Passamaquoddy lands, language, and worldview in a wide ranging talk that will draw on history, culture, linguistics and stories. Their talk is designed for educators and future educators of all levels (and other interested folks) looking to increase their understanding of Indigenous cultures and communities in Maine. This is a rare opportunity to learn from native speakers, master language teachers, and gifted storytellers.

This talk is co-hosted and co-sponsored by the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine and the Wabanaki Studies Curriculum Initiative of the Portland Public Schools.


More Information and Registration at Eventbrite

Pen & Ink : An Introduction to Calligraphy and Dip-Pen Handwriting

Workshop led by Abraham Schechter
Saturday, February 1st
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Osher Map Library & SCCE, 314 Forest Ave, Portland

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Abraham Schechter will guide attendees through an introduction to the art of calligraphy and pen-dip handwriting. This event is limited to 25 attendees, ages 12 and up.

Register at Eventbrite

Lecture: “The Color of Law”

Presented by Richard Rothstein
Thursday, December 5th at 5:00pm
Hannaford Hall, Portland

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Please join us Thursday, December 5, 2019, as we welcome historian and author, Richard Rothstein, to speak about his 2017 book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America.”

Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems – it corrupts our criminal justice system, exacerbates economic inequality, and produces large academic gaps between white and African American schoolchildren. We’ve taken no serious steps to desegregate neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights. The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy in the mid-twentieth century that openly subsidized whites-only suburbanization in which African Americans were prohibited from participating. Only after learning the history of this policy can we be prepared to undertake the national conversation necessary to remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

Richard Rothstein is a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where he is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley.

Reception will begin at 5:00pm, followed but a lecture, remarks, audience Q&A, and book signing starting at 6:00pm.

Exhibition Opening: “Mapping the Classroom: Teaching Geography and History in 19th and 20th Century New England”

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Please join us for the opening reception and lecture for our newest exhibit, “Mapping the Classroom: Teaching Geography and History in 19th and 20th Century New England.”

Reception and exhibition viewing will begin at 12:00pm in the arcade in front of the Osher Map Library & Smith Center for Cartographic Education, followed by a lecture at 2:00pm from curator and Executive Director, Libby Bischof. The lecture will take place in the University Events Room on the seventh floor of the Glickman Family Library.

Image: Medfield Grammar School, 1886. Courtesy of Historic New England

Lecture: “The River to Which I Belong”

Presented by Dr. Lisa Brooks
Saturday, September 28 at 4:00pm
Hannaford Hall, Portland

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Join us on Saturday, September 28th for “The River to which I Belong: Relationships of Reciprocity and Resistance in the Waterways of the Wabanaki,” a lecture by Dr. Lisa Brooks, Professor of English and American Studies, Amherst College.

In 1739, the Wabanaki leader Polin traveled from the Presumpscot River down the coast to Boston to protest the dams that blocked the passage of the abundant fish on which his community depended. Wabanaki people had developed and sustained a dynamic, reciprocal relationship with salmon on the Presumpscot River over thousands of years, a relationship which was directly threatened by both colonial wars and colonial development, including intensive deforestation, powered by dams. Polin’s protest was not an exceptional event but part of a long-term, adaptive resistance, arising from a vast and multifaceted community within the Wabanaki homeland, which continues today.

Lisa Brooks is an Abenaki writer and scholar who lives and works in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley. She is Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College and is active in the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Program, which she chaired from 2013-2017. Along with her many accomplishments, her most recent book, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War, which begins and ends in Casco Bay, received the Bancroft Award for History and Diplomacy and the New England Society Book Award for Historical Nonfiction in 2019. As a Whiting Public Engagement Fellow, she worked with a team of students and colleagues, to develop a companion website,, which features full color digital maps of Native space. Lisa was honored in 2018 with the Maine Historical Society’s Neal Allen Award for exceptional contributions to Maine history.

The lecture will take place in Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Center on USM’s Portland Campus.

Co-Hosted by the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, Friends of the Presumpscot River, and USM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science.

Register at Eventbrite

Exhibit Opening: “All Aboard: Riding the Rails in New England and Beyond”

Followed by lecture by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.
Thursday, April 18 at 5:00pm
Osher Map Library, Portland

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Please join us at the opening reception for our newest exhibition, “All Aboard:” Riding the Rails in New England and Beyond, 1830s – 1950s.

Gallery opening and reception will begin at 5:00 pm, followed by a lecture by Maine State Historian, Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., at 6:00 pm. The lecture will take place in the Cohen Center, Glickman Family Library room 103.

Free parking available will be available in the Bedford St. Garage.

Lecture: “Mapmaking in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”

Presented by Dr. Tim Wallace
Thursday, March 14 at 6:00pm
Hannaford Hall, Portland

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The 2019 Mattson-New York Times lecture, “Mapmaking in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (AI),” will be presented by Dr. Tim Wallace, Creative Director at Descartes Labs, and recent graphics editor and geographer for the New York Times.

The art and science of mapmaking are in the midst of a giant leap forward, thanks to machine learning algorithms that are making quick work of once-impossible cartographic efforts. Because of AI, features like buildings, trees, wind turbines and wildfires can all be mapped across vast expanses and at great speed. And, lucky for us, geographers, cartographers, and storytellers are taking note of the new and evolving capabilities–and digging in.

Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating lecture.

Free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30pm.

Image courtesy of Tim Wallace and The New York Times.