The Geography of Colorants

Credits & Acknowledgements

“The Geography of Colorants” exhibit is the result of a collaboration between the University of Michigan Library (Stephen S. Clark Library) and Melissa Zagorski. Zagorski’s thesis, The Geography of Significant Colorants: Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, contains a section on the significance of colorants in mapmaking, as well as an extensive history on the origins of hundreds of colorants. These themes made it possible to showcase a wide range of the Clark Library’s collection, from exquisite hand painted maps to modern maps tracking the movement of iron ore from the Great Lakes Region.

Dr. Cathleen Baker, Conservation Librarian for the University of Michigan Library, spent several hours in the Clark Library identifying the colorants used on some of the maps in our collection, and with her help we were able to select a series of rare maps which best displayed samples of the colorants most often used in the mapmaking industry. With the guidance of Dr. Baker's expertise, we were also able to focus the exhibit on a few of the colorants most often used in maps, which Dr. Baker identified from the many colorants covered by Zagorski. We are immensely grateful to Dr. Cathleen Baker for sharing her wealth of knowledge with us.

During the course of the project we also had the pleasure of meeting and working with Randy Asplund, a master of medieval painting techniques and materials. Mr. Asplund loaned the Clark Library a number of colorants from his personal collection and supplied us with additional information about many of the colorants in the exhibit. We are extremely thankful for his expertise, which provided this exhibit with an incredible depth which we would not have otherwise been able to achieve.

In addition, we would like to thank Tim Utter and Karl Longstreth for their help in selecting maps for this exhibit and Jen Green for her guidance and incredible support. We are eternally grateful to Sarah Helm and Erin Platte, who chose to take on the immense task of getting this exhibit up online. Finally, we want to thank Meghan Musolff, Special Projects Librarian at University of Michigan Library, for her assistance in the creation of this exhibit.

This online version of "The Geography of Colorants" is based on the physical exhibit of the same title, which was originally featured in the Stephen S. Clark Library exhibit space.  The exhibit was created and compiled by Exhibit Coordinator Grace Rother and School of Information Student Sarah Helm.

For more information about this exhibit please contact The Clark Exhibit Team at clarkexhibits@umich.edu.

For questions about Omeka or online exhibits, please contact Meghan Musolff at musolffm@umich.edu.