“Map In Our Lives”

The Library of Congress digital exhibition “Maps in Our Lives” is based on a series of chronologically-ordered maps of land that George Washington acquired in the 1760s. This land was adjacent to his Mount Vernon estate. Not only does the exhibition track the changes in ownership and land use, it also demonstrates changes in cartographic techniques.

What most struck me after looking the site over, however, was the realization that all these maps, created over a period well exceeding two centuries, were “framed” quite similarly. This is because all these maps are concerned with private land ownership, either exclusively of or including the “River Farm” property.

This is a small insight (maybe trivial, even), but still worth remembering. While noting the changes and improvements in the survey plat, or any other map genre, it’s important to note continuities and constants.  



2 thoughts on ““Map In Our Lives”

  1. Unfortunately, now that resource isn’t available due to the shut down. It’s very interesting, however, to consider the types of maps and why there are created. These maps concerning private ownership can potentially show where priorities lie.

  2. This short review of the site is helpful. The fact that the maps span such a wide period of time but are still framed in a similar fashion is fascinating. Since the website is currently shut down I am very interested in taking a look at this site once the government shut down is over and the site is once again accessible.

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