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The First Printed Maps 1472-1700
The Naval War College Museum through the generous support of the Naval War College foundation announces the opening of a new exhibit featuring rare and historic maps. Entitled Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps 1472-1700, the maps are from the collection of Henry and Holly Wendt and have been organized by the Sonoma County Museum of Santa Rosa, California. The collection will be augmented by maps from the Naval War College Museum’s collection. The exhibit will run from July 1 through November 30, 2011.
Envisioning the World will exhibit approximately 30 of the earliest printed maps documenting the growth in understanding of world geography during the early Renaissance through to the scientific era of the Enlightenment. Scientists, mathematicians, explorers, and cartographers all contributed to a better understanding of the earth and its place in the universe.
Printing allowed for the distribution of cartographic and geographic information and the printers began with the early works of classical Greek mathematicians and astronomers, principally the Greek scholar Ptolemy, whose works had been preserved in the library in Alexandria, Egypt, awaiting their rediscovery during the early Renaissance. Such works brought increased awareness to the topic and provided the baseline upon which to build accumulated knowledge.
The first printed map (1472) was a woodcut diagram that appeared in an encyclopedia, the Etymologarium, which had been compiled by Saint Isidore, Bishop of Seville from 599 until his death in 636. Known as a T and O map, shows the world as a circle within which are three continents separated by two lines forming the letter T and representing water.
An audio tour has been created that will allow participants to don mobile headsets and receivers and listen to extended discussions regarding the maps. All of the maps are explained in detail and further amplification can be found in the accompanying exhibit catalog produced by the Sonoma County Museum and available in the Museum gift shop.
Check with us at a later date.