A trip to Vacationland

ArticleTravel with us to a land far, far away…just 2 hours up I-95.

August 1, 2022
376 words / 2 minutes

Last week, our staff had the privilege of visiting our colleagues at the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education (OML) in Portland, Maine. OML is located on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine and is home to about a half million cartographic objects, including a collection of more than 300 historic globes.

With their focus on K-12 education and their committment to regional history and geography, we’ve found OML and its team to bear the closest resemblance of any other map library to the LMEC and the operations of our team. (We even have a number of the same maps in our collections…likely because the history of Maine was the history of Massachusetts until 1820.)

For many of our staff, Friday’s visit was the first time to Osher. Executive Director Libby Bischof showed us some of the most popular items in the collection such as Greenleaf’s 1820 map of Maine and the incredible 1617 “Leo Belgicus”, as well as a brand new collection of travel journals of a newspaper editor that had been donated to OML. Our tour included a spin through the digital imaging facilities, where the team of digital imaging specialists talked us through current digitization projects that included large bound atlases and tiny baseball-card sized maps.

During lunch, we admired the winning entries from the 2022 Illustrated Mapmaking Contest drawn by 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Lunchtime talk ranged from personal backstories to swapping notes on public programs and collections storage and provided ample fodder for

Our staff spent extra time exploring the OML gallery, where the exhibition Vacationland: Mapping Tourism in Maine displayed maps that highlighted the ways the state of Maine has been transformed over time by tourism and seasonal visitors. It was particularly fun to see an entire wall of historic travel guides, postcards, and photographs that helped provide context to the ways Maine was marketed as a vacation destination to many visitors from outside of Maine.

Now that we’re back, we’re excited to find ways we can bring some of our conversations in Maine into operational reality in Boston and are looking forward to when we get to play host to our OML colleagues later this fall!

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