Changing World Views:

Maps in The Mariners' Museum Collection

The Mariners' Museum and Park's Library and Archives has more than three million items in its Collection, including an impressive map collection. The world maps, in particular, are spectacular representations of the cartographic items. As Europeans explored between the 15th and 20th centuries, world maps became more accurate. Many of these maps focus on specific topics such as trade routes, colonial territories, and natural resources. In addition to their use for navigation, many of these maps are embellished with beautiful imagery.

These maps are just a few of many that The Mariners' Museum Library and Archives has in their collection. We invite you to view the various maps within this site, and consider how maps reflect and shape our perspective of the world - past, present, and future.

You may view more information about any of the maps presented on this site by visiting and enter in the catalog number listed in the map description.

Cartography: A Brief History

Cartography is the art, science, and practice of map making

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Illustrative Maps

Early modern maps are renowned for their elaborate border illustrations

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Points of View

When we imagine what a world map looks like, chances are we think of the Mercator Projection.

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Scientific Interest

Mapmakers during the 17th and 18th centuries often included new scientific theories and other ideas in maps.

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Mapping Exploration

Early maps maps reflected the ongoing efforts of explorers and navigators to chart the world.

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Maps Abound

Maps became increasingly widespread throughout the nineteenth century, thanks in part to the invention of lithography in 1796

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Information and Power

While maps have always provided users with information beyond geographic boundaries, thematic maps became especially popular in the 19th century.

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The mission of The Mariners’ Museum and Park is to connect people to the world’s waters, because that is how we are connected to one another. Click the logo to visit The Mariners' Museum and Park website to learn more about our role as stewards of one of the largest maritime collections in the world.

Created April 27, 2020"Changing World Views" site creator: Erika Cosme, Content and Interpretation Developer, The Mariners' Museum and ParkContent Writer: Sara Woodbury, College of William and Mary Map Consultant: Bill Barker, Archivist, The Mariners' Museum and Park