History Museum’s Chávez Library Wins National Award

New Mexico History Museum. Courtesy photo
 
NMHM News:
 
SANTA FE — The American Association for State and Local History will bestow its Award of Merit for Leadership in History to the New Mexico History Museum Sept. 16 at their annual awards banquet.
 
This prestigious award recognizes the museum’s Historic New Mexico Maps project, the culmination of a four-year effort to catalog more than 6,000 maps, along with hosting an array of public programs and producing Historic Maps as Teaching Tools: A Curriculum Guide for Grades 5–8. Patricia Hewitt of the museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library oversaw the project. She and the museum share the award with the co-writers of the curriculum guide, Drs. Judy and Dennis Reinhartz of Santa Fe.
 
Fray Angélico Chávez History Librarian Patricia Hewitt enjoys connecting researchers to maps in the collection, “People love maps and what they tell us about different time periods, but we had so many that it was sometimes difficult to find the right one. Now we can not only put our hands on exactly what someone needs, but we’ve gained a deeper understanding of our collection. And we’re still adding new maps every year!”
 
Hewitt went on to describe the Library’s award-winning project, “Maps have a demanding academic language of their own and visuals which may be difficult to comprehend. They can also be deeply compelling and graphically beautiful. The Historic New Mexico Maps project successfully opened the museum’s extraordinary collection of maps to the public through cataloging discovery tools now available online (SALSA online catalog), teacher workshops, a symposium, a free 30-page curriculum guide, and outreach through presentations, tours, and scholarly articles.”
 
The Chavez Library’s map collection encompasses all of New Mexico history, from Spanish Colonial to Mexican Republic, U.S. territorial and statehood periods. From the smallest map (4 x 5 ½ in.) to the largest (13 x 122 ft.), the museum’s map collection includes more than 1,100 road maps, 800 railroad maps, and 2,000 topographic maps—all of them now available to researchers and interested members of the public visiting the library. (A plan to digitize the collection awaits appropriate funding and staffing.)
 
A free two-day Map Mania Symposium (co-sponsored by the Historical Society of New Mexico) will be held on June 24–25, in the History Museum’s auditorium. For details on the symposium, click here.
 
The Historic New Mexico Maps project was supported by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through their Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program.
 
The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. For more information about the awards, contact AASLH at 615.320.3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.
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