I love making maps. And by making maps, I mean using existing maps to create interpretive maps or maps that explain history, show a story or link together events. I’m not out there GPSing any landmarks or detailing the topography. But I love making a topic make sense just by putting it together on a map.
Here are some examples:
Wyoming State Museum WPA exhibit map – At a quick glance, Wyoming State Museum visitors can see that the WPA had a vast reach across the U.S. Then on closer inspection, they can see examples of how it reach their community. It makes it easier to relate to this Wyoming exhibit if you’re not from Wyoming.
Wind River Reservation map – So much of the story about how Native Americans were treated by the government can be summed up in these maps about the changes to the Wind River Reservation borders with little explanation.
Preserve Wyoming conference map – This map gives conference attendees an idea of places to visit and what they’ll find. It’s nice to have it all in one place.
Interpretive sign maps – Many of the interpretive signs we do have a map for reference. This seems to be especially true for historic information. Here are a few examples.
Black Diamond Trail brochure – This historic trail map shows the overall trail and then provides two insets with more information on the larger areas the trail passes through.
For many of these, we combined historic maps with modern day maps. We edited out information to focus on just the parts we needed. Sometimes this was a tedious process of tracing, but considering the lifespan of an interpretive sign, it’s worth it.
My designer takeaway: Maps can be a powerful visual tool. Don’t be afraid to spend some time on them making them tell your story.