University Programs

Programs and activities for university-level teachers and students

Mapping across the curriculum

Our collections, research programs, and public projects resonate with many different course topics at the university level, both in the humanities and social sciences and beyond. Some of the topics which are well-suited for collaborative learning include:

  • historical geography and environmental history
  • urban history and urban studies
  • history of science and technology
  • American studies
  • local and regional history of Boston and New England
  • GIS and geospatial methods
  • critical cartography
  • digital humanities
  • media studies

We welcome university teachers to bring your students to the Map Center for a virtual visit, or to work with us in developing a course exercise that draws on historical collections or digital humanities skills. For students, we offer many resources that may be helpful for research papers, presentations, and creative projects.

Visiting the Map Center with a class

The LMEC curatorial and library team welcomes university classes to visit our collections and exhibition, either through an in-person trip to the Central Library in Copley Square or via a remote visit. We offer broad overview lessons on historical geography, critical cartography, Boston history, and research in the map collections, as well as thematically-focused discussions of specific groups of objects or exhibition topics. We also offer instruction in digital methods for geography and cartography.

To schedule a visit or session for your class, please fill out this form:


Please see our table of education program fees for information on costs. We strive to make our programs and resources available to all institutions without cost presenting a barrier. Individual reference and research services for students and educators, as well as admission to the exhibitions gallery, are always free.

Collaborative learning in the digital humanities

We encourage and support student projects that engage with our physical and digital materials—both historic maps as well as information and data derived from maps. In particular, we partner with teachers and students to produce new interpretive frames around the collection that can then become a part of our own public programs.

For courses where technical training is not the primary earning objective, we offer highly-scaffolded assignments involving pre-built digital tools such as Atlascope, Panel Truck, and the Collections Georeferencer. In addition to supporting such exercises, we also like to showcase student work in our articles, offering students an opportunity to create pieces which will become part of a creative portfolio.

For courses where students are expected to work with more sophisticated digital and technical skills, we offer numerous resources, from IIIF image API endpoints to interactive maps built in OpenLayers, Leaflet, or Mapbox.

Contact the Curator to discuss possibilities for collaboration on student digital humanities projects.

Resources for student researchers

If you’re working on a project about that related to geography or history, we have thousands of resources that might be useful, whether as a single illustration for a slide presentation or as the starting point for a deeper analysis of a question like urban morphological change. Read more about our collections, or learn about how to search in our catalogs. Our reference library team is always available to help answer your questions or find material that you may not even know might be interesting to you—make an appointment to get deeper into a topic.