Friday, May 17, 2013

Ball State University Libraries' Atlas Collection Features Maps for History Research

Looking Back:  Using Atlases in the Study of History

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) and the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library provide unique cartographic resources for learning about historical events.  Over 145,000 maps, atlases and charts can be used for research and learning about the past.  Maps included in atlases can be especially conveniently scanned and incorporated into research papers, lessons and other classroom presentations as visual aids.

Today, May 17 marks the anniversary of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court landmark Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ruling.  The Court declared state laws establishing “separate but equal” public schools unconstitutional.  The map above (click to enlarge) shows the states requiring segregation at the time of this decision.  The map is from the United States History Atlas from the Atlas Collection.

Ball State University social studies education student-teachers taught a lesson about the Diary of Anne Frank and wished to incorporate maps to help their elementary students better understand the situation.  The maps above are from the Atlas of the Holocaust.

Native American Studies students researching the history of the Navajo used this map depicting the locations of parks and sacred places for a class presentation.  The map is available from The Navajo Atlas in the Atlas Collection.

A local seventh-grade social studies teacher incorporated maps with a lesson about the Trojan War and The Iliad and The Odyssey.  This map, The Homeric World, is from the Atlas of Classical History.

Atlases about history and atlases featuring specific historical events or eras can be an important resource for cartographic research.  The Atlas Collection houses nearly 3,000 atlases covering a wide-ranging list of topics and themes and geographic locations from all over the world.  Topical maps from atlases can be easily scanned and can add visual interest and impact to a message.  Atlases also circulate for 28 days or longer.

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097 Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 4:30 during the summer.

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