The Winterthur Museum, in Delaware, will host a major new exhibition Common Destinations: Maps in the American Experience, 20 April 2013 to 5 January 2014. The museum's website for the exhibition reveals the variety of forms taken by maps in the early Republic. As the blurb explains:
Today maps are known simply as tools to help us reach our destination, but in the 18th and 19th centuries they were key to the American experience and became the social glue that bound strangers into a community. During the 18th century, maps evolved from rare collectibles to ubiquitous objects that were central to men’s and women’s senses of self. This exhibition takes you on a journey into the importance of maps in everyday life and material culture and features selections from Winterthur's fascinating collection of traditional maps on paper as well as map-related objects, such as ceramics, geographic playing cards, and printed handkerchiefs.
I am so looking forward to seeing this exhibition! It takes an exciting approach that emphasizes six innovative themes:
The exhibition has been curated for Winterthur by Martin Brückner, associate professor of English and American Studies at the University of Delaware. Brückner is an expert on maps and material culture in the late colonial and early Republican eras. Among other works, he authored The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Maps, Literacy, and National Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2006) and edited the wonderful collection, Early American Cartographies (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2011). His current research project is "The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750-1876." He is also organizing an associated conference, 11-12 October 2013.