World’s Oldest Printed Maps at the Royal BC Museum

I had the pleasure of attending a very cool press event here in our little town of Victoria, B.C on Vancouver Island! Our awesome museum, The Royal B.C. Museum, has just scored a really cool exhibition (“Envisioning The World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700″) open to all visitors of the facility. On loan from Sonoma California, The Envisioning Our World exhibition brings us some of the earliest known printed maps in the World! The collection, ranging from 1472-1700 in period, is an impressive display of 30 maps that made us sit back and say “Wow”. The exhibition includes the first world map ever printed and a simple woodprint from around 150 A.D. Perhaps the coolest map in my mind was the Puetinger Table map (seen below) , perhaps the world’s first road map, redrawn from a Roman 5th Century map used by the Emperor’s couriers. It was also interesting hearing directly from the Museum’s History Curator as well as the collection owner who has come with the maps from California – I had to chuckle at the reference to Google maps and how the renewed interest in maps and location technology has brought about an explosion in interest by the general public in such historical displays and in maps and cartography – pretty darned awesome! Check out a few photos I snapped at the gallery and for more info you can follow the museum on Twitter @RoyalBCmuseum. Note, this map collection is on loan from Henry Wendt and the Sonoma County Museum.

It was also very interesting to hear that the B.C. Archives Map Collection, used to support local research in history, geography, cartography, and genealogy has more than 178,000 maps in total! The collection is accessible to researchers and has maps dating back to the 16th century!

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