Benson Collection Partners with Austin Public Library on Maps Exhibition
Posted: June 4, 2014
The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection of The University of Texas at Austin has installed the exhibition Mapping Mexican History: Territories in Dispute, Identities in Question at Austin’s Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe.
The exhibition, located on the library’s second floor, opened on June 1 and continues through Oct. 15. Together, LLILAS and the Benson form the collaborative partnership LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections.
This collection of historic maps, reproduced at actual size from the Benson’s rare books and manuscripts collections, serves as a visual history of Mexican territory, culture and identity from late 16th century through the mid-19th century. The originals were either hand drawn or printed, many featuring vivid color.
The early maps in the exhibition are part of the Benson’s holdings of Relaciones Geográficas, documents created as part of the first survey of New Spain ordered by King Philip II, the Spanish king. Later maps show transformations in Mexico’s colonial cities as well as its northern borders. According to Benson curator Julianne Gilland, who developed the exhibition, through image and text, these documents trace the complex and often contentious relationships between indigenous and European, civil and religious, and “national” and foreign in Mexico’s evolution from colonial territory to modern state.
In the spirit of the mapping theme, the Austin Public Library invites members of the community to help make a virtual map of Austin. Participants should tweet a landmark or place in Austin that is most meaningful to them. Use the hashtag #APLmap. The library will add those locations to a Google map throughout the summer, and people will be able to log in to view the progress. Follow APL on Twitter at @AustinPublicLib.
Contact the Austin Public Library at 512-974-7400 for more information.