Exploring History with Harvard's Map Collection

Meredith Quinn uses Harvard's map collection to enhance lessons about the Ottoman Empire. The Harvard Map Collection is a wonderful resource, with librarians available to help identify relevant maps. For this class, Quinn brought her students to the library, where large-scale historical maps had been laid out for them. She broke the class into groups and assigned each group to a map. They were instructed to focus on how the map lent additional dimensions to (specified) articles from their homework. After examining the map as a small group and preparing talking points, each group presented the map to everyone else and explained the relevance to the articles they had read. The purpose of the activity was to deepen students' understanding of the secondary works they had read and the geography of the empire they study in the class.

The only preparation required of students is to do the assigned readings. However, the activity requires significant preparation on the part of the teacher to select and prepare the maps in advance.