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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

Thousands of Free Historical Maps

Every once in a while a resource comes available that is so amazingly cool – and so amazingly useful for performance assessment – that I feel like I have to shout it from the rooftops.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) – through the The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division – has made available 20,000 “cartographic works” (a.k.a., maps). These maps have no known copyright restrictions, though they have been registered Creative Commons, and the NYPL has asked that they be credited as the source.


What does this mean to you? According to the New York Public Library:

"It means you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. We’ve scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people … We believe our collections inspire all kinds of creativity, innovation and discovery, things the NYPL holds very dear."

Go to the website, register for a free account, and start browsing. Many of the maps are New York related, but by far not all of them.

A central pillar of Quality Performance Assessment is the development of meaningful, real-world instruction and assessment. Collections like this are rich, authentic source material for history, geography, geometry, GIS, and other coursework. Go browsing and see what you find. You will find stuff that can be useful, and it will be a great time.