An exhibit opening was held on March 8, 2017 in the Elmer L. Andersen Library with approximately 140 attendees including alumni, map enthusiasts and experts, community members, faculty, students, and artists. There were two speakers at the event: Edie Overturf, Visiting Assistant Professor of Printmaking in the University of Minnesota’s Art Department, and Ron Wencl, US Geological Survey National Map Liaison to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Edie discussed the technical process of making prints with the copper plates, using photographs taken during the printing process to give the audience a visual representation of the steps involved in creating a print. The prints Edie and her graduate student made from the Duluth cultural, topographic, and hydrographic plates were showcased in the exhibit next to the plates from which the prints were pulled.
Ron spoke about the evolving mapping techniques and tools utilized by the USGS, the history of the Department of Interior and directors of the USGS, and how to access various types of maps online through different USGS portals and databases.
This exhibit was a great opportunity to highlight the richness of the map and government publications collections at the University of Minnesota, and to showcase the USGS copper plates that were a vital part of mapmaking history. Through this exhibit, attendees were able to learn about the complexity and artistry of mapmaking, the myriad tools necessary for the surveying and map production processes, and the plethora of uses for maps in a contemporary world.