Library of Congress Map Room

I’m a week late in posting this but wanted to share the incredible experience we had at the Library of Congress Geography and Map Room while attending the Google Geo Teachers Institute. We spent two hours behind the scenes at the Madison Building learning about and viewing incredible maps, many created hundreds of years ago.

We saw the 1507 Waldseemüller map which is the first map known to use “America” as a label for the new lands. This was based on Amerigo Vespucci’s voyages of 1501-1502 to the New World. The map was produced in 12 sheets and it represents a thin North and South America separated from Asia by the Pacific Ocean. Of the 1,000 printed, this one is the only known copy to survive.

 I wish I’d taken notes on all the maps we looked at because my memory has failed me but I was so interested in the historical significance that I didn’t catch the names of everything we saw. We were shown several maps drawn by George Washington, including one of Mount Vernon that he drew in 1766.

Another map depicted a civil war drawing of landowners near Washington, DC. It was labeled to show Union and Confederate sympathizers so that Union troops would know who to see to seek food and fresh horses. Another map showed Appomattox on the day the South surrendered to Union troops.

One of the 3-dimensional maps was created to help World War II soldiers know what to expect during the D-Day Landings.

This was a fabulous, behind-the-scenes tour! I’m so glad we had this opportunity.

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