Conversations at the Washington Library is a weekly podcast about early American history and the people who teach it.

Maps do more than visualize landscapes, identify political borders, or chart rivers and oceans. They show us the many and varied ways that we make sense of the world around us. How then, did Early Americans make sense of their world through maps? 

Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic offers one answer. It is an exhibit currently on display at the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia. Using maps, the tools to make them, and other objects, the exhibition shows "how maps were used to create and extend the physical, political, and ideological boundaries of the new nation while creating and reinforcing structural inequalities in the Early Republic."

On this episode, lead curator Dr. Erin Holmes and co-curator Dr. Janine Boldt sit down with Jim Ambuske to discuss how they brought Mapping a Nation to life. You'll also get a sneak peak at Dr. Boldt's next exhibition, Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist, which will open at APS in Spring 2020.

If you'd like to support this podcast as well as new research into George Washington and his world, please consider becoming a Mount Vernon Member

About Our Guests:

Erin Holmes is the Kinder Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri. She is a former Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society where was lead curator for Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of South Carolina in 2017 and B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary. Her research compares the evolution of plantation slavery and colonial identity through the built environment in Virginia, South Carolina, and Barbados during the long 18th century.

Janine Yorimoto Boldt is the 2018-2020 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society. She is lead curator for the 2020 exhibition, Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist, and was co-curator of Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic. Janine received her PhD in American Studies from William & Mary in 2018. Her current book project investigates the political function and development of portraiture in colonial Virginia.

About Our Host:

Jim Ambuske leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a focus on Scotland and America in an Age of War and Revolution. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  Ambuske is currently at work on a book entitled Emigration and Empire: America and Scotland in the Revolutionary Era, as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.

Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

Open today from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save