Thursday, April 7, 2022

Get Out! And See DC in Maps - at the GWU Museum, Now Through August 27

This week's "Get Out!" Event of the Week is not just something you can see in the coming week -- fortunately for us, it's here for some months, so you can see it anytime between now and August 27, 2022. 
It's called "The Language of Maps" and through the series of maps on display you can travel through time and see the land we call the District of Columbia throughout the centuries.
Here's your invitation to the exhibit:

The Language of Maps

Through August 27, 2022

Before the digital age, generations of explorers, governments, scientists and travelers relied on printed maps for navigation, urban planning, military strategy and more. Drawing from the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, this exhibition brings together maps from the 17th to the 21st centuries, each with its own symbolic language and story.

About the Exhibition

What is a map? Equal parts art and science, maps are designed to communicate information and represent a place. They are also intrinsically biased, reflecting the choices and agendas of their makers. To fully decode a map, it is important to understand when it was made, who made it and why. 

This exhibition explores the visual language of maps through historical examples used by different groups in and around Washington, D.C.: explorers attempting to navigate and control new territory, governments seeking to collect data to inform policy, and military personnel building battle strategies.

The earliest map on display is a 1690 navigational chart detailing the coastline of the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. Other examples were used for urban planning, including an 1854 proposal for expanding the grounds of the Capitol building. A hand-drawn map made during the War of 1812 shows the positions of British and American troops before the pivotal Battle of Bladensburg, which left the City of Washington vulnerable to pillage and arson.   

The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum 
701 21st St. NW Washington, DC 20052  Phone: +1 202-994-5200 Email:

Museum Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed on university holidays

Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)

A suggested donation of $8 supports the museum’s exhibitions, collections and educational programs. Admission is free for museum members, children and current GW students, faculty and staff.

Covid Safety Policies:

In accordance with GW regulations, all visitors over the age of 2 must wear masks and maintain social distance in the museum, regardless of vaccination status. Bring your own mask or pick one up at the front desk.
Vaccination: In accordance with GW regulations, all visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please come prepared to show your vaccine card (or a digital copy) at the front desk when you arrive. Full vaccination is defined as at least 14 days since receiving the final required dose of FDA or WHO authorized vaccines.


The "Get Out!" event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

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