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Note: If you are looking for The Newberry’s upcoming 2019 Summer Seminar, Material Maps in the Digital Age: An NEH Seminar for College Teachers, please click this link.

Reading Material Maps

A Summer Seminar for School Teachers

Monday, July 9, 2018 – Friday, August 3, 2018

At the Newberry Library

Directed by Dr. James Akerman (Newberry Library) and Dr. Peter Nekola (Luther College)

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The Newberry Library

The Newberry is pleased to announce a four-week summer seminar in 2018 for school teachers, Reading Material Maps in the Digital Age.  Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, this institute will focus on how map documents have reproduced and established geographical facts and understandings, as well as reflected and shaped their social and cultural contexts.

Maps are among the first classroom tools.  Today, a properly equipped American classroom may still surround its students with globes, wall maps, and atlases.  Maps are still sprinkled throughout social studies and history books.  However, these material maps are gradually giving way to digital surrogates.  Material maps are still useful in our everyday life, but there is no question that teaching cartographic literacy is complicated by the advent of the digital age.  If material maps are in fact fading in popularity, what pedagogical purposes can these objects still serve in K-12 humanities teaching?  How can we learn from the material map’s physical presence, historical uses, and meanings?

Reading Material Maps is designed to help teachers develop their cartographic literacy through exposure to current scholarship and original map documents.  This seminar will provide sixteen K-12 educators with the opportunity to develop critical map reading skills in the presence of an impressive archive of five centuries of material cartography.  Grounded in the renowned map collections of the Newberry Library, this program will consist of seminar sessions, readings, workshops, field trips, and personal research.

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NEH Seminar, Developing Cartographic Literacy with Historic Maps (2005)

The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography

For 45 years, the Smith Center has advanced knowledge of the history of cartography and promoted the use of the Newberry Library’s map collections by scholars, educators, and the general public. Workshops on historic map use for local schoolteachers have served more than 300 teachers since 1996.  In 2005, the Center’s NEH-funded Historic Maps in K-12 Classrooms won the Award for Excellence in Geography Media from the National Council for Geography Education.  In 2015 and 2016, the Center launched two major web resources supported in part by the NEH, featuring high-resolution map images and interpretive essays: Make Big Plans: Daniel Burnham’s Vision of an American Metropolis; and Mapping Movement in American History and Culture.

Click here for a description of the Newberry’s geographical and map collections.

The Newberry Library

Open to the public without charge, the Newberry is an independent research library dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, especially in the humanities. The Newberry acquires and preserves a broad array of special collections research materials relating to the civilizations of Europe and the Americas. It promotes and provides for their effective use, fostering research, teaching, publication, and life-long learning, as well as civic engagement.  In service to its diverse community, the Newberry encourages intellectual pursuits in an atmosphere of free inquiry, and sustains the highest standards of collection preservation, bibliographic access, and reader services.