GeoCarta Has Moved

Apr 6, 2007

Historic Map Exhibit to Open April 15

Princeton University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is set to open an exhibit of historic maps of Africa, April 15. The show, "To the Mountains of the Moon: Mapping African Exploration, 1541-1880," will display examples of historic maps and European explorers' narratives from the library's collection.

The exhibition will feature historically significant maps of Africa by major cartographers such as Sebastian Müenster, Abraham Ortelius, Willem Janszoon Blaeu and Vincenzo Coronelli. The show will have a particular focus on the journeys of missionary David Livingstone, adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton and journalist Henry Morton Stanley. "Behind each map is a great story. The exhibition documents what the men encountered on their incredible travels," said John Delaney, curator of the library's Historic Maps Collection. "On display are these explorers' published narratives, open to their own maps, illustrated with their own drawings and captioned in their own words."

Mr. Delaney expressed admiration for the cartographers who made the maps stating, "The exhibition demonstrates how improving or correcting maps of Africa was not possible without the efforts of adventurers who were willing to risk their lives in the field to prove each geographic fact."

The opening of the exhibit will be preceded by a lecture by geophysicist and expedition leader Pasquale Scaturro, at 4 p.m. in 101 Friend Center. Mr. Scaturro will speak on, "The Exploration of the Great Rivers of Africa." Mr. Scaturro organized and led the historic Nile First Descent Expedition, which traversed 3,260 miles from the mountains of Ethiopia to the Mediterranean Sea from December 2003 to April 2004.

The exhibition is open to the public and will run until Sunday, Oct. 21, in the main exhibition gallery of Firestone Library. Best of all, it's free.

See also: Ancient African Maps Posted Online.