Ornamental Separator

Promoting America: Maps of the Colonies and the New Republic

Now Open
On view in the Michael L. and Carolyn C. McNamara Gallery
This exhibition has been generously funded by Rex and Pat Lucke.


From England’s first attempts to colonize America, artists and mapmakers created impressions of the New World that fueled European imagination. Maps served as powerful propaganda tools for colonial expansionists eager to convey the richness and abundance of the land and its inhabitants, often representing America as a latter-day Garden of Eden. Initially, mapmakers incorporated iconographic images of America’s flora, fauna, and native population within the decorative elements on their maps to promote the promise of a good and prosperous life in the New World. This exhibition features works that range from a 17th-century map depicting the “new World” as a literal Garden of Eden to maps celebrating the newly established United States of America.

A Map of North America, Henry Schenck Tanner, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1822
A Map of the British Empire in America, Henry Popple, London, England, 1733
America, Claes Jansz Visscher, Amsterdam, Netherlands, ca. 1650, Gift of the Lasser Family

Admission Tickets

Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg