The Bosatlas. Omitting as an art

May 11th – October 27th 2019

The Bosatlas is in many aspects a mirror of time: the atlas shows how the world changes, how our worldview changes and how education in geography changes. This exhibition tells the story of the Bosatlas on the basis of three turning points, each connected to a specific year.

1877: DISCOVERING THE WORLD

The fairly new subject of geography mainly focuses on knowledge of countries and peoples. The atlas by the geography teacher Pieter Roelf Bos from Groningen is a book of maps that students use to discover the world. In the first edition he introduces the phenomena of the ‘leer scheinende Karten’ or: omitting as an art. The maps only contain the names that the students need to remember.

 

1968: THE WORLD IN THEMES

A time of renewal and engagement. The focus of geography education shifts from knowledge to skills. In the atlas we can see the large increase of thematic maps concerning subjects like decolonisation, environmental pollution, migration and globalization.

 

2019: DIGITIZING THE WORLD

The students go on research. They compare and analyse areas and geographical themes. The entirely digitized Bosatlas offers them new ways to help with that. Different maps of atlas’ pages can be viewed next to each other and analysed layer by layer. At the same time the paper versions of the atlas maintain their value. Both the versions of the Bosatlas for educational purposes as the ones for the consumer market appear with great regularity in the bestseller lists.

This exhibition is an initiative of GRID Graphic Museum Groningen and was created in collaboration with the Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum and Noordhoff Uitgevers Groningen.