Traveling museum exhibit puts St. Charles on the map

Maps serve more purposes than just showing people how to get from one point to another: they’re artistic, scientific and technological creations – all at the same time.

As pictures of the world, they reflect a society’s cultural beliefs and perceptions as well as showcase the times when they were produced.

These and other concepts are illustrated in the new traveling exhibition So Much More Than Just A Map: Perspectives on Louisiana and the New World, which will be on display at the West Regional Library located at 105 Lakewood Dr. in Luling through April 20.

Based on the popular show of the same name on view at the Louisiana State Museum’s Presbytere in New Orleans, the traveling version of the exhibition features over 35 reproductions of unique maps that explore several centuries of mapmaking.

The first section explores the “rule of ethnocentricity,” where the creators of a map place their own territory at the center of a world map.

One of the more curious maps in this section is a map that shows Australia at the center, which gives the earth the appearance of being geographically upside down.

Another section illustrates how maps display qualities unique to the group that created it, such as Native Americans drawing diagrams on animal skins or on pieces of bone.

The exhibition also shows how maps evolve. For example, a Mississippi Valley series displays several changes over time, among them the founding of New Orleans.

The traveling version of So Much More Than Just A Map: Perspectives on Louisiana and the New World was produced by the Louisiana State Museum and the Louisiana Center for the Book with additional support from the Friends of the Cabildo.

It is also a program of the State Library of Louisiana.

The permanent exhibition, which features over 100 original and reproduced maps, was sponsored by the Lupin Foundation with additional support provided by the Louisiana Museum Foundation and the Friends of the Cabildo.

Louisiana State Museum traveling exhibits are available for display in libraries, schools and other venues across the state. For more information on So Much More Than Just A Map and other traveling exhibits, contact the museum toll free at 800-568-6968.


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