NEMA Museums New England

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Museum Profile

Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education

314 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04104
(207) 780-4850

The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education’s collections contain original maps, atlases, globes, books, and scientific instruments, dating from 1475 to the present. They emphasize first Maine and New England, then the USA, the Americas, and the world. Special care has been taken to acquire exemplars of the many modes, periods, and national contexts of past cartographic practices across different human cultures. The combined collections number more than 500,000 maps, as separate sheets or bound in atlases and books. These books include works on cosmography, astronomy, and navigation, as well as geography and history. The original materials are supplemented by a substantial collection of facsimile reprints and a growing reference works.
As an integral part of a comprehensive metropolitan university within the University of Maine System, the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education [OML] is committed to preserving the cartographic heritage of the state, region, and nation for future generations, and to making that heritage accessible to the University, the people of Maine, and to all other students, scholars, and visitors. It shares its collections through exhibitions and through collaborative efforts with other cultural institutions. It seeks to interpret its collections ~ to make them intellectually accessible ~ through classes, exhibitions, and other outreach programs.
OML is open to the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00pm, Thursdays 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, and Saturdays 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, excepting holiday weekends. OOML’s gallery shows exhibitions of maps and cartography, which change approximately every six months. OML's collections are open to all researchers, from fourth-graders to octogenarians. Access is not restricted solely to academics with a PhD! Rare Collections are served by OML staff. They can be identified through OML's in-house collections management database. OML's extensive reference materials are housed on (mostly) open-access shelves in the main reading room. Some titles circulate and some cannot be checked out. The reference materials are all catalogued in Ursus, the University of Maine System library catalog.