Maps break National Library attendance record

THE NATIONAL Library’s exhibition of historical maps attracted more visitors than any other in the gallery’s history, in the three months since it was opened by last November by self-confessed “map nerd” Russell Crowe.

The National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia

By the time “Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia” closed last night, it had attracted 118,264 visitors to see over 100 of the world’s most significant maps, atlases, globes and scientific instruments, surpassing the 115,081 who went along to see “Treasures from the World’s Great Libraries” in 2001.

According to the National Library, the exhibition had “near full-house attendance” at all timed sessions and the catalogue, filled with essays and images from the exhibition, came close to selling out.

National Library director-general Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said the success of the exhibition could be attributed to the generosity of the international lenders, including the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, the British Library, the Bibliotheque nationale de France and the Vatican Library for allowing the valuable articles to be displayed.

“I would like to say a special thank-you to the three exhibition curators: Martin Woods, Nat Williams and Susannah Helman, whose expertise, passion and dedication – to say nothing of the extraordinarily long hours they worked – [made] Mapping our World the great success it has been,” Ms Schwirtlich said.

“My great appreciation also goes to staff from across the National Library, and our invaluable volunteers, who worked tirelessly, many for more than two years, to make this exhibition such a success.”

Ms Schwirtlich also thanked the exhibition’s partners and supporters for their “enthusiasm and generosity, demonstrated through financial and in-kind support”.

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