A Cartography exhibit is open at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville.
When visitors walk into the exhibit hall, it is difficult to miss the early maps lining the walls all around the hall. In the back, to the right in the exhibit is a mannequin sitting at a desk and dressed in early settlers clothing.
It is to give life to the exhibit, according to KYGMC administrators.
The exhibit shows mapping progresses from the mid-18th century through the mid-19th century, according to KYGMC Trustee Emeritus Louis Browning.
According to Browning, Georges Henri Victor Collot, a French soldier, traveled the Western United States and the area that would later become a part of the Louisiana Purchase and began sketching and mapping.
“The works were printed in 1805 but not published until 1825,” Browning said. “Only 100 copies of the English-language version survived.”
Four of Collot’s maps are in the exhibit, according to Browning.
One of those maps is the Road from Limestone to Frankfort.
“(It is) the first published map of any road west of the Appalachians and the only road Collot felt important enough to map. He was right here in Maysville and traveled that road.”
Two of Collot’s other maps are of the Ohio River with one showing the length of the river and the second showing Limestone at its left end. There is also a map of the rapids in Louisville.
Browning said the maps in the exhibit focuses mainly on Kentucky and nearby areas.
“Early cartographers/map-makers had to rely on word-of-mouth reports of locales of all geographic features,” Browning said. “Such reports were inaccurate, especially for areas little traversed by those who came here first — explorers, settlers, fishermen, Viking raiders and merchant traders by land and by sea or stream.”
Along with the Kentucky maps, is also a map of Maysville from 1822.
“(Some) maps in the exhibit show a later and a more detailed Kentucky and it’s general area. An 1822 map of Maysville is a very valuable reference. Promoter towns such as Lystra and Mason County’s Franklinville are figments of British imaginations — neither ever existed. Some believe they were simply a scam.”
Other maps in the exhibit include the State of Ohio and an 1855 map of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Among the maps are also pieces of artwork, including one featuring Mary Ingles after she has escaped from her Native American captors. The map next to the exhibit shows the path which Ingles took to escape.
There are also early documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and others.
According to Browning, there is a guide at a small table in the hall that outlines what guests will see as they make their way around the exhibit hall.
“I hope when they leave here, they take away what they would while looking at any exhibit,” he said. “I hope they enjoy seeing the cartography and learning about the history.”
The exhibit will be open in the changing gallery until June 2.
The museum center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admissions is $10 for adults and $2 for students.