Friday, April 10, 2009
Now that I've been working as a full-time local historian for about two years, I've grown to realize that my primary historical interest has to do with land use and urban spaces. That's not to say that I don't have other interests within local history also, but I seem to frequently come back to investigating changes in the visual appearance and use of space in Spartanburg. The two primary research media for those interests are photography and maps. Photography comes up all the time in my work, and I hope to someday make it an even more central part of my job, but I seldom get the opportunity to focus much time on maps.
Fortunately for me, though, I've been spending nearly all of my time at the history museum lately working with historic maps and blueprints. All this work is in preparation for the next exhibit, which opens at the end of this month. The exhibit, Charting our Heritage, focuses on maps depicting Spartanburg and surrounding areas from the 18th century onward. At this stage, there is still a good bit of work left to do, although my current focus (encapsulating maps in conservation-grade plastic) is wrapping up. (punny?)
It should be a really wonderful exhibit, so please come and check it out. And for those of you in Hampton Heights, Converse Heights, the east side, or downtown, there will be more than a few maps of your neighborhood worth checking out.
By the way, as much as I wish the illustration above were a real book, I should confess that it's merely a shamelessly Photoshopped real atlas cover.