New home for rare & priceless maps at NSW State Library

Friday 16 April 2021

For the first time, visitors to the State Library of NSW can explore five centuries of cartography from around the world in one place with the opening of its new Map Rooms TODAY [Friday 16 April].

According to State Librarian John Vallance: “Despite the challenges of COVID, we’re continuing our quest to place jewels from the State Library’s collections on public view. Now it’s the turn of our collection of maps – arguably the most significant in Australia.”

“We have brought some of our most important maps, globes and navigation instruments out of the vaults and into a new public home for all to see and enjoy. The Map Rooms have been designed for everyone, but we hope they will also encourage specialist cartographic research,” says Dr Vallance

“The exciting new rooms are located on the first floor of the Mitchell Building, and will be open to the public every day. They have been created thanks to the generosity of private donors and the Library’s Foundation.”

One of the major highlights is a chart of the Indian Ocean and Asia — one of only four copies in the world — printed on vellum by Jacob Colom in 1633. “The expert work of our Library conservators is displayed in this chart in the network of threads which maintain the tension of the vellum within its frame,” explains Maggie Patton, the State Library’s maps expert.

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