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On High: Cartography of Topography, a remarkable exhibition of rare maps devoted to mountains and mountain regions of the world, will open at the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum on January 23, 2009. The show is scheduled to run through May 31, 2009.

Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana, 1810. Zebulon Montgomery Pike.

Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana, 1810. Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Some Rights Reserved: Images copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates

The exhibition will explore the ways in which topography has been viewed and mapped throughout history. Though not a comprehensive history of mountain cartography, On High offers a fascinating glimpse at the ways in which cartographers from different periods and places have chosen to depict places of terrain.

This exhibition will include some of the more important maps in the history of world cartography, as well as maps from the exploration of the western United States. Highlights of the exhibit include a map from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, world maps from the 15th-18th centuries, Zebulon Pike’s map of the exploration of the Southwest, and many more. The exhibition will draw from the collection of Wesley A. Brown, a prominent map collector from Denver, and from the Henry S. Hall, Jr. American Alpine Club Library and Colorado Mountain Club Collection.

The historic map is that unique artifact that combines art, culture, history, science, and style, and so attracts people on a multitude of levels. Some will gaze at a map for the sake of possibility: how do I get from here to there, and where will I pass through? Indeed, it is a passion for exploration—whether in the field or in the mind—that attracts so many people to maps. This exhibit will both educate visitors to the complexities and intricacies of cartography, and inspire us all to explore the mountains out our doors.

The 3,500-square-foot American Mountaineering Museum is a joint partnership of the Colorado Mountain Club, the American Alpine Club and the National Geographic Society.

The museum is located in the American Mountaineering Center at 710 10th Street, in Golden, Colo. For more information, visit http://www.bwamm.org or call (303) 996-2755.

Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Regular admission is

$6.50 for adults, $4.50 for children, and $3.25 for members.

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