11 March 2014

 Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia, featuring many of the greatest maps in the world, has become the National Library of Australia’s most successful exhibition.

The exhibition, which closed last night (10 March 2014) attracted a total of 118,264 visitors, surpassing Treasures from the World’s Great Libraries in 2001 where 115,081 visitors, many of whom queued around the National Library in Canberra day and night, attended. 

Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia was opened by Hollywood movie star and self-confessed ‘map nerd’ Russell Crowe in November 2013 and, since then, has enjoyed near full-house attendance at all timed sessions. The catalogue, published by the National Library, and featuring essays and images of the more than 100 maps, atlases, globes and scientific instruments in the exhibition - representing the most significant moments in our cartographic  history - came close to selling out.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms 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 many of the greatest maps in the world to be displayed under the one roof at the National Library, for the first time – for free.

 ‘ 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 – for making Mapping our World, the great success it has been. 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 paid tribute to the exhibition partners and supporters.

‘Their enthusiasm and generosity, demonstrated through financial and in-kind support, made this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition possible,’ she said.


Media Contact: 

Sally Hopman 0401 226 697 or shopman@nla.gov.au